Five Little Indians

Five Little Indians

Book - 2020
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"Taken from their families when they are very small and sent to a remote, church-run residential school, Kenny, Lucy, Clara, Howie and Maisie are barely out of childhood when they are finally released after years of detention. Alone and without any skills, support or families, the teens find their way to the seedy and foreign world of Downtown Eastside Vancouver, where they cling together, striving to find a place of safety and belonging in a world that doesn't want them. The paths of the five friends cross and crisscross over the decades as they struggle to overcome, or at least forget, the trauma they endured during their years at the Mission. Fuelled by rage and furious with God, Clara finds her way into the dangerous, highly charged world of the American Indian Movement. Maisie internalizes her pain and continually places herself in dangerous situations. Famous for his daring escapes from the school, Kenny can't stop running and moves restlessly from job to job -- through fishing grounds, orchards and logging camps -- trying to outrun his memories and his addiction. Lucy finds peace in motherhood and nurtures a secret compulsive disorder as she waits for Kenny to return to the life they once hoped to share together. After almost beating one of his tormentors to death, Howie serves time in prison, then tries once again to re-enter society and begin life anew. With compassion and insight, Five Little Indians chronicles the desperate quest of these residential school survivors to come to terms with their past and, ultimately, find a way forward."-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Toronto, Ontario : Harper Perennial, [2020]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781443459181
Branch Call Number: GOO
Characteristics: 293 pages ; 23 cm
Alternative Title: 5 little indians


From the critics

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Jun 12, 2021

An excellent book which illustrates the residential school experiences both the horrors of the forced students but also that of those who survived and their encounters with the dominant culture. The views of the author are discused in an interview in the Globe and Mail and enhances understanding of the book,

Jun 12, 2021

I absolutely agree with the comment of Becky. It should be required read in school curriculum so general public will be informed and understand about the Indigenous people. Beautifully written and planned! First time I've given a book 5 stars!

Jun 06, 2021

I felt that this book covered the subject matter well and provided different but common experiences people had living through, and after, the residential schools. Definitely worth reading, especially if this is a new subject area to you.

May 31, 2021

Just put hold on book

May 30, 2021

20 more copies really needed!!!!

liljables May 24, 2021

The narrative structure of this novel really worked for me. Each chapter is named after one of the characters, and follows the titular figure on part of their journey, but we catch glimpses of the other four, connecting the dots between these young people and slowly revealing how their stories are interwoven. Without question, Vancouver is the sixth character in this story, and felt intimately familiar to me, despite the fact that this novel takes place decades before I would ever visit the city.

This novel is a fresh entry in the category of fiction about residential schools and survivors of those institutions. The scenes at the school will feel tragically familiar to anyone who has read (for example) Indian Horse, but the narratives following the characters' departures were new and compelling to me. I found myself rooting for our protagonists as they sought help at the Friendship Centre, engaged with Indigenous activism, and built lives for themselves with their limited resources.

Tammyd60 Mar 25, 2021

I know these people! This book helps to understand just a little bit better

Mar 19, 2021

Good read. Really enjoyed it.

Feb 17, 2021

I want to say that I feel that the comment from mclrajh is damaging. I don't think it's fair to say that this book is poorly written. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but there's also such a thing as right and wrong. This person may not have liked the book, but it is well written. I read it with great interest, and while the subject is not pleasant, i.e., the way abuse, disrespect and cruelty in childhood damage people, we as a society need to educate ourselves on the continued cruel treatment of our Aboriginal people. The author needs to be commended for telling a story that needs to be told and doing such a great job of bringing these five vulnerable teenagers to life.

Feb 15, 2021

Excellent, excellent book. Good does a wonderful job bringing the characters to life with empathy and compassion. She brings to light to those who ask 'why can't you just get over it?' Read this book. It'll help you understand why.

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