Why is there no Native woman David Sedaris? Or Native Anne Lamott? Humor categories in publishing are packed with books by funny women and humorous sociocultural-political commentary—but no Native women. There are presumably more important concerns in Indian Country. More important than humor? Among the Diné/Navajo, a ceremony is held in honor of a baby’s first laugh. While the context is different, it nonetheless reminds us that laughter is precious, even sacred.
Bury My Heart at Chuck E. Cheese’s is a powerful and compelling collection of Tiffany Midge’s musings on life, politics, and identity as a Native woman in America. Artfully blending sly humor, social commentary, and meditations on love and loss, Midge weaves short, stand-alone musings into a memoir that stares down colonialism while chastising hipsters for abusing pumpkin spice. She explains why she does not like pussy hats, mercilessly dismantles pretendians, and confesses her own struggles with white-bread privilege.
Midge goes on to ponder Standing Rock, feminism, and a tweeting president, all while exploring her own complex identity and the loss of her mother. Employing humor as an act of resistance, these slices of life and matchless takes on urban-Indigenous identity disrupt the colonial narrative and provide commentary on popular culture, media, feminism, and the complications of identity, race, and politics.
About the Author
Tiffany Midge is a citizen of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and was raised in the Pacific Northwest. She is a former columnist for Indian Country Today and taught writing and composition for Northwest Indian College. Her award-winning books are The Woman Who Married a Bear and Outlaws, Renegades, and Saints: Diary of a Mixed-Up Halfbreed. Her writing has appeared in McSweeney’s, Transmotion, the Offing, Waxwing, Moss, Okey-Pankey, Lit Hub, and World Literature Today. Midge resides in Moscow, Idaho, where she has served as the city’s poet laureate. She aspires to be the distinguished writer in residence at Seattle’s Space Needle. Geary Hobson is emeritus professor of English at the University of Oklahoma. He is the author of numerous books, including The Last of the Ofos.
"If you're wondering why the presence of Andrew Jackson's portrait in the Oval Office is offensive, this is your book."—Kirkus
"[Midge's] no-b.s., take-no-prisoners approach is likely to resound with twenty-something readers, but the older crowd ought to give Midge a look, too."—Joan Curbow, Booklist
"[A] cornucopia of literary brilliance. The Standing Rock Sioux writer’s wickedly funny autobiography offers laugh-out-loud passages alongside compassionate profiles, bitter sarcasm, and heartbreaking chronicles. Each of the memoirs are short yet potent, compelling the reader to continue while paradoxically causing one to pause to reflect on Midge’s astute observations. Every entry is so well-crafted that the only disappointment you’ll find is when you realize you’ve read them all. Then again, this is a book that demands to be reread."—Ryan Winn, Tribal College Journal of American Indian Higher Education
"Bury My Heart at Chuck E. Cheese’s is timely reading for the fall season, with Midge suggesting "Politically Correct Alternatives to Culturally Insensitive Halloween Costumes," and proclaiming "Hey America, I’m Taking Back Thanksgiving." Treat yourself to a fast-moving correction of any vestiges you may have of the stoic, unsmiling Native stereotype and enjoy at least a Tweet or a one-liner from Tiffany Midge. You’re sure to learn something as you laugh."—Jan Hardy, Back in the Stacks
“Midge is a wry, astute charmer with an eye for detail and an ear for the scruffy rhythms of American lingo.”—Sarah Vowell, author of Lafayette in the Somewhat United States
“Bury My Heart at Chuck E. Cheese’s drives a spear into the stereotype of Native American stoicism. It is perhaps the funniest nonfiction collection I have ever read. But it is much more than funny: it is moving, honest, and painful as well, and looks at the absurdities of modern America. Midge’s collection is so good it could raise Iron Eyes Cody from the grave and make him laugh till he cries.”—David Treuer, author of The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee
“Tiffany Midge is the kind of funny that can make the same joke funny over and over again. Which means, of course, that she is wicked smart, and sly, and that she has her hand on the pulse of the culture in a Roxane Gay-ish way, only funnier, and that she has our number, your number, and my number too, all of our numbers. Which means she is our teacher, if we let her be.”—Pam Houston, author of Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country
“Tiffany Midge is a gift, a literary comedic genius. Bury My Heart at Chuck E. Cheese’s is chock-full of savagely clever and spot-on riffs about Native life combined with keen observations of the absurdities of pop culture. Where else can one find discussion of the use of ‘ugh’ in American literature or of Anne Coulter and Delores Abernathy as judges in the post-election U.S. Open in Racist Tirades Competition? Adroit, snarly, essential, and inspiring. She knows our truths, so there is no use in hiding. Midge is among the very best indigenous writers. More, please.”—Devon Mihesuah, author of Ned Christie; Choctaw Crime and Punishment; and Indigenous American Women