Joseph Boyden visited my university in 2016.
There, he spoke about this book and awakened my interest. I put it in the back of my mind for later, since heavy syllabi owned my waking hours. Controversy around the author that kept me from his works for some time, until one of my roommates (Hi Ryan!) forced his copy of Three Day Road onto me. I kept it around for years, reluctant to give it a chance… but once I picked it up, I immediately loved it.
I put Wenjack back on my TBR, certain I would love it as well.
Historical Fiction, Short Stories, Canadian, Indigenous, Obijwe
An Ojibwe boy runs away from a North Ontario Indian School, not realizing just how far away home is. Along the way he’s followed by Manitous, spirits of the forest who comment on his plight, cajoling, taunting, and ultimately offering him a type of comfort on his difficult journey back to the place he was so brutally removed from.
Written by Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning author Joseph Boyden and beautifully illustrated by acclaimed artist Kent Monkman, Wenjack is a powerful and poignant look into the world of a residential school runaway trying to find his way home.
7 jan 2023
8 jan 2023
What a powerful little book.
Chanie Wenjack was a real person. He starved and froze to death in an attempt to escape a residential school. He had a family and 2 dogs waiting for him at home. His sisters are still alive today. It’s so sad to think about…
This collection of short stories is told from the perspective of Manitou (owl, mouse, wood tick, rabbit, pike, beaver, spider, lynx) watching Chanie on his journey to freedom.
I was aware of the destination, but it left me devastated. I sat in tears, childishly wishing wishing a better ending for Chanie—wishing he hid from the Fish Bellies and clung to those who loved him.
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