Wagamese gives us a clean line of sight into what truth and reconciliation really means: There is a song that is Canada. I have learned that to love this country means to love its people. This is a book then, for finding out the real meaning of truth and reconciliation. It is also a book for anyone who is looking for home, for their roots, for their clan or tribe. You learned to drink so that you wouldn't have to carry those labels or feel them stuck to you like arrows. When you found your people, you became Ojibway.
Culling these stories has taken me a long way down the healing path from the trauma I carried. This book is a look back at one native life, at the people, the places and the events that have helped me find my way to peace again, to stand in the sunshine with my beautiful partner, looking out over the lake and the land we love and say yes. As an example of the format, the story The Country between Us opens with an observation from Wagamese's present: There are times when something as simple as the rain that freckles slate grey water can take me back to it that feeling I remember from my boyhood when the ragged line of trees against the sky filled me with a loneliness that had nothing to do with loss. Wagamese reveals his fascinating life story in a thoughtful order, and I couldn't help but admire him for finding his way to peace in the wake of trauma and prejudice.
Richard is truly a gifted storyteller who has carefully honed his craft of the written word. It would be awesome.....just listening to the words...the emotions....the sounds described in the book, the language itself. I so much wanted to read the book aloud to myself and to someone else and sometimes did. That is what Richard does in this book.
After finishing this book, I devoured Indian Horse and Ragged Company which also shared difficult stories that give readers a different perspective to consider. He sought refuge in the library, reading, listening to music, learning about art and discovering a new world. There was always something that I'd never heard of or imagined, and books and stories where I could learn about it. I explored every inch of the stacks, fascinated by the witches and goblins, fairies and trolls, great wars and inventions I encountered there." It was not only the library that sustained him but his writing: "My life became the walk to school and back. These experiences are repeated in his books and I loved gaining insight into the stories he told including the time when he was given a traditional name: "He called me Mushkotay Beezheekee Anakwat. he said and he told me that my role in this reality was to be just that: a teller of stories, a communicator, a keeper of the great oral tradition of my people." Despite abuse, abandonment and a very difficult childhood devoid of his culture and heritage, his memoir describes his feelings of peace and being a part of the landscape where he lives as an Ojibwe man. As I visit the library, I will think of the difference that words, stories and books made for this boy as he struggled at home and school. As I search for books to restock my Little Free Library, I will be on the look out for more books by Richard Wagamese as I want all my friends, my neighbours, my community to learn through his stories. I loved reading the memoir but if I can suggest one book to read this year, it will be The Medicine Walk! "I learned how to live through adversity in the library.
John Wagamese, the author's grandfather, "knew the land like an old hymn.
So, eventually, their two kids were taken away from them. Richard's childhood was spent in foster homes for several years before he was adopted by a white family He ran away from home without completing his school and with little formal education and with the skin color he had, life was tough (I wouldn't use any fancy adjectives, because no words can do justice to the hardships he faced, not just physically but emotionally and very deeply).Later when is discovered by his brother, he finds his roots.
Beautifully written memoir by Ojibway author, Richard Wagamese. I was expecting more of a typical memoir but I think he was brilliant in how he wrote in segments containing life lessons, spiritual enlightenment and bits and pieces of his life history.