Friday, 17 March 2017
The Break by Katherena Vermette
Emily is a carefree thirteen year old who can't imagine that anything bad could happen to her. When she urges her friend Ziggy to join her in sneaking out to attend a gang party, her life is forever changed.
I did love this book, but it wasn't easy to read. The subject matters of abuse and broken families are sensitive topics. Not all novels can be filled with balloons and rainbows because real life is gritty.
Author Katherena Vermette took her time introducing the large assortment of characters, their backgrounds and connections. Kind of slow reading at first as I kept referring back to the Charles family tree at the front of the book. Once I had met everyone, the story sped up and grabbed me in close.
I could feel the closeness of the family as the narrative moved back and forth between the different women. None of them have had a dream life, but also, none of them had ever given up. They were held together by the love and stories of Flora (Kookom) mother, grandmother and great grand mother. This family has had it's hardships, but they have dropped everything and drawn in tight when needed. That is their strength which left me feeling hope for Emily and her generation.
Does it make a difference in the story that the extended family is Metis. I feel that it does indeed. Over the past decades, the treatment of the various family members was determined by their heritage. The bullying at school, dismissal of their health concerns, and currently the initial dismissal by the police of the reported incident were all directly a result of them being Metis. . Hopefully this book is reaching a wide audience who realize that biased and unequal treatment due to a person's heritage is not acceptable and will not be tolerated in our society.
First Nations Friday is an occasional post where I review books by First Nations, Metis and Inuit authors.
Cover image courtesy House of Anansi.
I received and advance reader copy of this book from Indigo Books and Music Inc., in exchange for an honest review.