Five Little Indians by Michelle Good was longlisted for the Giller Prize this year. I had really hoped it would make it to the shortlist. It's an incredible book.
I absolutely loved the story and the writing. This book is about a residential school in British Columbia. It follows the lives of 5 of its students. Lucy, Maisey, Clara, Howie and Kenny. My heart broke for each of them. My favourites were Kenny and John Lennon. Each character gives us insight into residential schools and into the repercussions and suffering residential school survivors experience.
What I like most about this book was that the emphasis is not on their time at the school and the suffering they endured. The focus is on their strength and how they fought to survive. When they leave the school, either because they have aged out or because they have ran away, they don’t have family anymore and they don’t know how to care for themselves in the real world. The big city of Vancouver is foreign to them.
What they carry with them are deep physical, emotional, psychological, and traumatic wounds. The author tells us enough of what happened at the school without going into great detail and I think, in this case, that was more powerful.
None of their lives are easy. They know that they are broken and they struggle to not let their past haunt them.
This story is about strength, survival, grief, loss, healing, hope and the comfort of having a chosen family who know you and love you.
Bookworm Rating: 🐛🐛🐛🐛🐛