April 1st 2018
Alcohol in Lone Ranger and Tanto Fist-Fight in Heaven
Throughout the novel, assortment of short stories, or even a collection of fantasies, Alexi’s experiences come off as very genuine and personable. This can be felt by through the level of detail and passion seen throughout each of the “chapters”. An important motif seen time and time again is the use of alcohol as a crutch for the protagonist’s shortcomings. Ironically, the use of alcohol only exaggerates these downfalls, making life on the Spokane Reserve that more redundant.
The book opens with a peculiar chapter that immediately demonstrates the previously mentioned motif. As Victor crawls in bed with his parents, both unconscious, he begins to like the alcohol tasting sweat off of their bodies. Not only does this paint a disturbing image, and is also disturbing as it details Victor and most Spokane children’s addiction to alcohol. This addiction most often carries into adulthood, as seen with Victor’s father; however, the exception can be made for James’ father who luckily became sober. Although highly scrutinized, I believe it was important for Alexi to include this to bring awareness to this issue that otherwise would have gone unknown. I argue that these addictions are allowed or even encouraged due to the United States’ lack of recognition or sympathy for those living in within the reserves in the United States. With a lack of funding, poor education, and minimal support, the Spokane children have little if any motivation to care about their future. In “The Only Traffic Signal on the Reservation Doesn’t Flash Red Anymore,” Victor tells the story of Julius. Although an aspiring young athlete, Julius still fell prey to alcoholism, ruining his chances of getting off the reserve. It is stories like these and many more that resonate with me as I finish the “novel;” leaving me somewhat disgusted by the conditions so many people, on and off the reserve, must go through.
Alexi has written an inspiring collection of stories from a perspective not possessed by many. He details the saddening stories of alcohol abuse upon the reserve; however, he does in a way that both entertains and inspires the reader.