Monday, June 5, 2017

2 Mini Memoir Reviews: A Two-Spirit Journey & From the Tundra to the Trenches

I think my favourite nonfiction books are memoirs. There is just something so special about reading the stories of real people's lives. Fictional characters are great, but there is nothing so strange and fascinating as real life. I often find memoirs to be some of the most eye-opening, entertaining, and hilarious books I've read. I love that the memoir narrator can introduce me to ways of living and being that I would never have even considered otherwise. I recently read two very different, and also similar memoirs and wanted to share them with you!


The first one was A Two-Spirit Journey by Ma-Nee Chacaby, with Mary Louisa Plummer. It is the
story of Ma-Nee and the struggles she faces throughout her life, as a lesbian Ojibwe-Cree from Ontario. Her story was told in a very simple, straightforward style but what stunned me was the incredible resilience of this woman. There is so much pain in Ma-Nee's story - I lost count of the times she was abused or harassed by a variety of people, all throughout her life. It takes her a long time to find a place where she's content. But even so, she has such a positive outlook on her life and demonstrates compassion for others around her. She comes across as so humble and caring, even in the tone of her narration. Through her own outlook on life, she provides a tremendous amount of hope to her story, and to others. I think that is the strength of her story; her example of continuing to hope amidst pain. I would definitely encourage everyone to read Ma-Nee's story. (Just a warning though: while the style is easy to read, some of the content might be difficult to get through.)



The second memoir I read this year was From the Tundra to the Trenches by Eddy Weetaltuk, which is part of University of Manitoba's First Voices, First Texts series (an amazing series - all of the books in the series that I've read so far have been wonderful.) From the Tundra to the Trenches is a memoir written by an Inuit soldier, and his time fighting for Canada in the war. This very much just a life story, and very easy to read, especially if you're interested in war memoirs. There's a bunch of forewords and afterwards since it's an academic edition, but if you just read what Eddy himself wrote, it's a quick and entertaining read, that also opened my eyes to what it's like being an Inuit in Canada and in the Canadian army. I also appreciated how self-aware Eddy was as a narrator.

If you do want to read the extra essays though, it includes some really fascinating background to the publication of Eddy Weeltaltuk's story, and how he wanted it to be a bestseller to give hope and teaching to Inuit youth, while everyone else regarded it as an artefact to be stored in a museum. Eventually it was rescued from the museum and published in this edition by the U of M. I'm still hopeful it could make a bestseller list somewhere. :)

What are your favourite memoirs?

1 comment:

Hey there! I really treasure every comment... whether it just be a hello or a deeper thought. I love hearing your thoughts! :)

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