This Young Adult tale mixes growing up with family ties.
Set in Utah in the late 1970s, BEYOND THE GREEN shows us
the world of young Britta and her extended family. Some
years ago the household was made a little larger by the
fostering of a baby girl whose mother had left her in a car
on a cold day. Baby Dori doesn't remember any other life
and she's now nearly old enough to start school. But
Britta's happiness is shattered when Dori's mother wants
her back. How can Britta give up her sister to an
The dual thread of the tale takes in deeper issues, as Dori
is from a local Native tribe whose folks live on the
reservation, tell different stories, sing different songs.
Life troubles caused Dori's mother to drink which made her
poor at caring for her child. But she claims to have
cleaned up now, and the law is on her side.
I enjoyed Britta showing us her busy day, chores, the
barnyard rooster, her aunts and grandpa, her other sisters
and brothers. She is idealistic and sometimes impractical
as she comes up with schemes ranging from running away to
finding a flaw in the Native woman. However, it has to be
said that when accidents happen and people are in danger,
our Britta turns into a heroine for real. We also see some
of the neighbours and learn their stories, which
demonstrates that nothing is ever one-sided. As Britta's
family are Mormons, they occasionally pick up the Bible and
read a helpful lesson, just as Dori's blood relatives tell
useful legends about Coyote.
I think anyone in middle school through young teens will
learn lessons and have fun reading this family drama. The
red rock countryside is well described in conversational
style and characters are vividly portrayed. Author Sharlee
Mullins Glenn tells us that BEYOND THE GREEN is a semi-
biographical tale based loosely on her own fostered sister.
In this semi-autographical tearjerker set in 1979, Britta
has just found out that her foster sister, Dori, is going
back to live with her birth mother on the Uintah-Ouray
Indian Reservation in Utah. But Britta isn't going to give
up her little sister easily.
Eleven-year-old Britta's big Mormon family took in little
Dori--a member of the Ute tribe--as a baby. Now, four years
later, Dori's birth mother, Irene, is ready to take Dori
back. Blunt and feisty, Britta is filled with anger. How can
Irene claim Dori when she's been gone all this time? Britta
will stop at nothing to keep her sister, even if it means
running away or failing to see beyond her prejudices.