Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Through Black Spruce

Through Black Spruce
Author: Joseph Boyden
Source: Picked it up at Chapters
Days to Read: 14

I bought this book at Chapters in part because it was on sale and also because it sounded like something different written by a Canadian author. 

The book tells two stories; one about a Cree hunter and bush pilot living in Northern Ontario and the other about his niece and her adventures in Toronto. I really liked this book because I learned a lot about life in Northern Ontario and some of the customs of the Cree people. It was also really interesting to read about a Cree youth and her experiences and perspective of life in the North versus life in a big city like Toronto. The timing of me reading this book is pretty funny because my parents just took a road trip to Inukjuak, Quebec and visited some Cree villages. I think they will both highly enjoy this book!

 The book alternates between Will’s story and his niece Annie’s story and both keep you interested and turning the pages. Will has had a hard life and is the victim of gang violence in his town. He takes action and flees to a secluded area on James Bay.  He ends up in a coma and narrates his part of the book recalling the events leading up to his injury.

Annie visits Will frequently and at her friend and nurse's suggestion, tells him her stories from when she travelled south to Toronto in search of her younger sister who had left with her boy friend months before.  Annie ends up in New York City living the life of a young moderately successful model but never gives up hope of finding her sister.  Her uncle’s coma is what brings Annie home and through their time together they are able to find peace.

The book touches on many topics such as substance abuse, family, love, friendship, poverty, and gang violence to name a few.

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