This debut novel by Katherena Vermette is written exceptionally well. The Break is dark and heavy and it's a tough subject matter, but it is so important. There is a large cast of characters so I want to say thank you, thank you, thank you to whoever had the idea to put a family tree at the beginning of the book. It was incredibly helpful and I needed to reference it numerous times to make sure that I had everyone straight in my head.
The story takes place in Winnipeg, Manitoba and begins with Stella witnessing a violent crime out her window. She is paralyzed by what she is seeing and calls the police. The response and reaction of the police is shameful and a necessary story line that I am glad Vermette included, both because of how the Metis community is treated by the police and how Metis police officers are treated by other police officers.
Essentially, the story is told by four generations of Metis women. As the crime is under investigation we learn of the pain and trauma the women have experienced. This again, is an important topic as one of Canada's biggest issues is our missing, raped and murdered indigenous women. The culture of racism and stereotypes exist and the violence of men is feared, but accepted as a way of life.
It's intense and difficult. What is equally, if not more, intense is the support system the women are for one another. We join with them in their attempt to help each other heal and we see how their own pasts and their strength has affected their families, and their mindset.
This was another buddy read for me and I am so glad because we had a lot to talk about. I find it helpful to talk about the books that have heavier topics. There are trigger warnings at the beginning of the book, but I wouldn't let that deter you. Perhaps reading with someone else might help with that as well.
This is an important book and I wouldn't want anyone to miss out.
Bookworm Rating: 🐛🐛🐛🐛🐛