FROM THE ASHES, Jesse Thistle
At publication in 2019, this book was well received within the Indigenous gendre. It was recommended by several well recognized Canadian native authors such as Katherena Vermette (The Break) and Cherie Dimaline (The Marrow Thieves). It was also recognized as a serious memoir by Amanda Lindhout (A House in the Sky). Subsequently in 2020, it was selected as one of 5 books for the Canada Reads competition which had to be delayed due to corona virus.
This is a current indigenous memoir about homeless, drug and alcohol inspired life in Toronto. Readers who have visited Toronto will recognize many of the settings and may even recall seeing homeless people in the same locations.
The style is simple but captivating with short vignettes sequenced together as chapters. These are quick paced, easy to read and sequenced chronologically as a series of memories.
Fortunately, the story has a happy ending, but in order to get to the end of the story, the reader encounters some stark, raw and jarring scenarios about life as a ward of CAS, abuse, alcoholism, drug abuse and racism towards native people. It was a difficult read, but one that reflects a realistic reality for many men of native ancestry.