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From the Ashes

From the Ashes: my story of being Métis, homeless, and finding my way

By Jesse Thistle, advocated by Norma Graham


There’s always that one kid.

It’s usually a guy (though not always), and from the first days of school, they seem intent on mischief, misbehaviour, and mayhem. You remember that kid from school, don’t you? They sat behind you in class — or maybe, way up at the front, where they’d been moved by an exasperated teacher. They were a strange admixture of sullenness, manic comedy, dangerous rage, and confusion. There’s always that one kid, and they seem intent on self-destruction.

Jesse Thistle was that kid. In his memoir, From the Ashes: my story of being Métis, homeless, and finding my way, he recalls what it was like being that kid, and then that man. He tells the story of his life, his chaos and dislocation, his terrible pain, and the pain he caused everyone who cared about him.

From the Ashes is a very hard book to read, or at least it was for me. It was difficult watching this man’s life unfold like a slow-motion train wreck: drugs, dropping out of school, getting ostracized by his family, homelessness, breaking the law, time in jail. In ten years of darkness, Jesse floundered, and circled the drain.

But then, there is light. In a last-ditch attempt to recover, Jesse Thistle saved himself, and his triumph makes this book worth reading all the way through.

More to come.

Vote for your favourite book and community library. At the end of the Grey County Reads contest in April, three winners will be chosen randomly from among all voters to receive gift certificates for Speaking Volumes Books and Audio and one library will win $200 worth of books.

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