Jesse Thistle's memoir From The Ashes, is shortlisted on Canada Reads this year. I was looking forward to being at the debates and rooting for Jesse. Since they have been postponed we will have to wait and see if it becomes the book that all Canadians should read. In my opinion, not only should all Canadians read it, but everyone should read it. I even had my mother listen to the audio, and my mother does not "do books".
The memoir is written in vignettes and Jesse's writing is honest and raw. He shares about his life growing up, the foster system, his grandparents who took him in and how he became an addict and homeless. As Thistle describes his early years and life on the streets, which is anything but kind, I heard the voices of some of my own people in my head who have had to live in survival mode for way too long.
Jesse shows how resourceful he is, his street smarts, and how difficult it is to deal with the demons inside us every day. Okay, so this might sound intense and a downer, but bear with me. It definitely deals with heavy topics: racism, addiction, homelessness, treatment of our First Nations people, foster care, crime, abuse... you get the idea. The brilliance of the memoir is that it offers hope. It shows how a man can look inside himself to find out who he really is and do what it takes to become that person. This isn't easy. In fact, it's damn hard, but Jesse shows us it's possible.
There were pages that were so intense, I'd be holding my breath and then a few paragraphs later, I'd find myself chuckling at Thistle's witty humour, and laughed out loud about his wall of soap. He expresses himself well and is brave enough to share his story that many people can relate to. My hope is that we will also learn from his experiences and it will only better our country.
Best of luck to Jesse with Canada Reads and congratulations on all his success with this memoir.
Bookworm Rating: 🐛🐛🐛🐛🐛