The Jailing of Cecelia Capture (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

In this semi-autobiographical novel, Janet Campbell Hale explores the struggle for identity and purpose at the intersection of Native American and white American cultures.  On the evening of her 30th birthday, the eponymous Cecelia finds herself in jail for DUI. There, she reflects on the course of her life from her childhood on reservations in rural Idaho and Washington, teenage motherhood, and marriage to her demeaning white husband, to her eventual enrollment in law school--a lifelong goal that now seems soured by previous hardships. Hale's prose is cool, almost detached, which allows her to describe the best and worst moments in Cecelia's life unabashed, without feeling sensationalist. A very raw, unflinching look at a Native American woman's experience that feels as poignant and necessary today as 30 years ago.


— From Devon D. Staff Picks


Cecelia Capture Welles, an Indian law student and mother of two, is jailed on her thirtieth birthday for drunk driving. Held on an old welfare fraud charge, she reflects back on her life on the reservation in Idaho, her days as an unwed mother in San Francisco, her marriage to a white liberal, and her decision to return to college. This mixed inheritance of ambition and despair brings her to the brink of suicide.

The Jailing of Cecelia Capture is a beautifully written book. Janet Campbell Hale's gifts are genuine and deeply felt.--Toni Morrison

Product Details
ISBN: 9780826310033
ISBN-10: 0826310036
Publisher: University of New Mexico Press
Publication Date: July 1st, 1987
Pages: 208
Language: English