Addie Slaughter: The Girl Who Met Geronimo

by Susan L. Krueger

Reviewed by Margaret Donsbach

Addie Slaughter by Susan L. Krueger Addie Slaughter was the daughter of John Horton Slaughter, an Arizona cattle rancher who served as sheriff in the Wild West town of Tombstone for several years beginning in 1886. The story is about Addie's life from age five until her marriage. Designed for classroom use, the book skims fairly quickly through a large number of interesting events and is less a true novel than a lightly fictionalized historical account presented as Addie's first-person story. Students will likely find it more interesting than a purely factual overview of Arizona history, but less absorbing than a novel which brings its characters more vividly to life.

Struggling readers will appreciate the short sentences and easy vocabulary. Unfamiliar words are usually explained in the text. Boys will be interested in many of the anecdotes, even though a girl tells the story. For example, Addie tells readers, 'One man said Papa was the "meanest good guy who ever lived". Although he was never mean to us, I think I know what that man meant.... Willie asked him one time how he got the bad men to give up and Papa said, "I just say real quiet, 'Lay down or be shot down'." Willie said the way Papa said it gave him the shivers!'

Historical photographs of Addie Slaughter, her family, Geronimo, and some of the Slaughter family's property and keepsakes illustrate the book. Because the story is told from Addie's point of view, it reflects the attitudes of white settlers of her time about Native Americans; although sympathetic, its perspective may seem narrow to some readers. Teachers may want to provide balance with a novel about the Native American experience. (2011; 75 pages, including additional historical background and a Curriculum Guide. Recommended for ages 9-12.)

More about Addie Slaughter at Powell's Books or

Interview with author Susan L. Krueger

Other novels for younger readers about life in the Old West:

The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich (1999), about a seven-year-old Ojibwe girl orphaned by a smallpox epidemic in 1847; #1 in the Omakayas trilogy. More info

The Adventures of Midnight Sun by Denise Lewis Patrick (1997), about a thirteen-year-old slave who escapes to Mexico during the Civil War years and becomes a cowboy. More info

Where the Broken Heart Still Beats by Carolyn Meyer (1992), about Cynthia Ann Parker, a white Texas girl captured by Indians at age nine, and later forced against her will to return to her white family, where her only friend is a twelve-year-old girl. More info

Nonfiction about Arizona and Western history:

Geronimo: Wolf of the Warpath by Ralph Moody (2006), about the nineteenth-century Apache war leader, for ages 9-12. More info

The Foul, Filthy American Frontier by Heather E. Schwartz (2010), about the disgusting difficulties faced by early settlers on the American frontier, for ages 9-12. More info

Arizona: Past and Present by Corona Brezina (2010), for ages 9-12. More info


John Horton Slaughter, a short biographical sketch at the Wild West History Association website

Back to Young Adult/Children's Novels: The Old West

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