Olive Oatman was just thirteen when Yavapai Indians slaughtered her pioneer family, captured her and forced her to live as their slave. She survived a year of abuse and constant fear until being traded to a Mohave tribe, who tattooed her face and arms and raised her as one of their own. This tale alone makes for a riveting read, but Margot Mifflin’s The Blue Tattoo: The Life of Olive Oatman offers far more than an historical recounting of one girl’s traumatic life. From the gory moments of her family’s massacre and frightening year of slavery to the beautiful descriptions of the handsome, athletic Mohave and her life as a “savage,” this story is both thrilling and emotionally stirring. My favorite parts of Mifflin’s book, though, delved into Olive’s psychological journey as she tried to reassemble the pieces of her fractured identity. As one of my favorite reads of ’09, this stellar book has inspired a new feature of mine on the Westervin blog — The Book Shop, wherein I recommend a good book to you, my faithful reader, and piece together a fun collection of online finds inspired by said book for your viewing pleasure. Ready?
Clockwise from top left: Indian Head Cuff-links from Whimsical Bazaar; Indian Chief Leather Vest from Big Brother Vintage; Free Original Drawing from Milkylane; Chief Joe Jacquard Shorts from Native(X)