Anyways, it turns me off of a lot of read-a-thons. But going into the Read-Eh-Thon, I knew that it would be something I would be really excited about, and I have a whole stack of Indigenous lit I'll take any excuse to get to.
I happy to say I completed all the challenges and read 5 books; 3 of which are now off my tbr pile! I pretty much stuck to my TBR this week. So I apologize that this post won't be so riveting if you've already read my TBR post. But, I am gonna let you know what I thought of each book, so let's get into it!
This a dystopian novel in which everyone but Indigenous people have lost the ability to dream. So now, they're hunting Indigenous people down and sending them to facilities in which they remove their bone marrow, believing that it holds the key to them dreaming again. Obviously, this mirrors the trauma Indigenous people went through not too long ago with Residential schools. The schools play a vital part in the novel as the characters remember their history, which allows younger readers, and less educated readers, to follow the parallel closely.
This novel also bring forward strong themes of chosen families and storytelling.
I really loved this novel and I love that it's a young adult novel, because there are next to no Indigenous authors in teen sections of bookstores. A trigger warning for sexual assault for this one, though it's not as explicit as adult Indigenous lit novels are, making it a bit more comfortable for teens to read. I wasn't a huge fan of the writing. It was good, but it was a bit too tell-y and not enough show-y for me.
Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot. 4.5/5 stars.
This memoir is written by an Indigenous woman from Seabird Island (or British Columbia), and is Nlaka'pamux. This memoir is written in the style of a letter to a man she loved. It begins with their relationship, but slowly moves towards her mental illness, past relationships, and her relationships with her family. This memoir is so well written. The voice turns into a lyrical narrative, which could make it easy to forget that it's a memoir, except that the events Mailhot retells are so severe, they cut into the lyrical-ness of it all and bring you back to reality.
Throughout the novel, she gets to know her own weaknesses, and what she has done wrong, as well as how those around her might have influenced her to do so. We are shown the reality of generational trauma, from the perspective of an Indigenous woman, and just a woman who's father left her traumatized. This memoir was heartbreaking, but I highly recommend it.
(A few trigger warnings for this memoir: sexual assault, physical assault, ptsd, trauma, domestic abuse, abandonment, pedophilia.)
A Perfect Gentle Knight by Kit Pearson. 3.5/5 stars.
This was a much-needed re-read for me, as I read it back in 2009. But I remember really loving it. I also needed a break from the heaviness of the last two books I read. This novel follows 11 year-old Corrie Bell years after her mother's death as her siblings and father are slowly breaking apart. Since their mother's death, the Bell siblings, and particularly her eldest brother, 13 year-old Sebastian, have been playing a Knights of the Round Table game, finding relief from their grief in their make-believe game. However, Sebastian really believes that he is a knight of the round table, and Corrie watches as it starts to take a toll on his life, and her other siblings, but doesn't want to bother or worry their father with their problems.
This novel is mostly about loss and grief, and wasn't completely what I remembered when I read it in 7th grade. I'm not sure if it's because I didn't fully comprehend what was going on, or if I blocked it out. But it also wasn't super interesting, and I'm a bit surprised it's a middle grade novel. It basically follows rich white kids in the 50s with some daddy issues and are struggling mourning their mother's death. It's good, and I can see why it would resonate with some people, but it's just not super special.
I read Robinson's Monkey Beach this year for an Indigenous Lit class and have heard nothing but great things about Son of a Trickster. And I'm so glad I read it. I'm not even sure how to fully describe this novel, I just want to tell you to read it. It really packs in Indigenous beliefs to make it into magical realism towards the end. But it also follows a 15 year-old Indigenous kid trying to break the chain of his parent's and grandparent's problems.
I've rated both the Eden Robinson books I've read a 5/5 stars, and now I want to read everything she writes.
(More trigger warnings here for: self-harm, substance abuse, physical assault, and hallucinations.)
Please Remain Calm by Courtney Summers. 4/5 stars.
This is a novella sequel to Courtney Summers' This is Not a Test, I novel I read a while back but I love! It's zombies meets lord of the flies, with your regular Courtney Summers dose of issues (if you've read any of her novels, you know what I mean). This sequel novella follows Rhys' point of view instead of Sloane's, as they discover that there's more potential in the world we last left them then they thought. Summers writing always makes me cry, and this is no exception. It still leaves off with a bit of an open-ending, but it left me more confident about the future of the characters than This is Not a Test, and I highly recommend reading both.
(trigger warning for physical abuse)
[goodreads review (though it's basically just me shouting my feelings)]
The only book I didn't get to that was on my TBR was Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien, mostly because it's so long and very daunting for a read-a-thon read. I'm thinking I might have to listen to the audiobook, or I may never read it.
I had a lot of fun with this read-a-thon, so a huge shout-out to BooksandLala and hosts for organizing it and killing it with the twitter reading sprints this week! And stay tuned here for my booktube-a-thon TBR near the end of this month. As always, add me on goodreads (and let me know my blog sent you) to see what I'm reading at any time!