Thursday, December 10, 2020

Audio Review: From the Ashes by Jesse Thistle

In this extraordinary and inspiring debut memoir, Jesse Thistle—once a high school dropout and now a rising Indigenous scholar—chronicles his life on the streets and how he overcame trauma and addiction to discover the truth about who he is.

If I can just make it to the next minute . . . then I might have a chance to live; I might have a chance to be something more than just a struggling crackhead.

From the Ashes is a remarkable memoir about hope and resilience, and a revelatory look into the life of a Métis-Cree man who refused to give up.

Abandoned by his parents as a toddler, Jesse Thistle briefly found himself in the foster-care system with his two brothers, cut off from all they had known. Eventually the children landed in the home of their paternal grandparents, but their tough-love attitudes meant conflicts became commonplace. And the ghost of Jesse’s drug-addicted father haunted the halls of the house and the memories of every family member. Struggling, Jesse succumbed to a self-destructive cycle of drug and alcohol addiction and petty crime, spending more than a decade on and off the streets, often homeless. One day, he finally realized he would die unless he turned his life around.

In this heartwarming and heartbreaking memoir, Jesse Thistle writes honestly and fearlessly about his painful experiences with abuse, uncovering the truth about his parents, and how he found his way back into the circle of his Indigenous culture and family through education.

An eloquent exploration of what it means to live in a world surrounded by prejudice and racism and to be cast adrift, From the Ashes is, in the end, about how love and support can help one find happiness despite the odds.

Paperback, 368 pages
Audiobook 9 hrs, 55 minutes
Published August 6th 2019
by Simon & Schuster
3.5/5 stars

Jesse Thistle doesn't hold back with his memoir, From the Ashes. Released over a year ago it is still garnering rave reviews, which accounted for my long wait at the library. 

Beginning when just a toddler and throughout the years Jesse tells his story of heartache, addiction, homelessness and estrangement seamlessly.

I went the audio route with this book, in the past I find nonfiction works well this way, especially when told in 1st person. With this book the author did the reading himself, which I thought would work great.  However I found his tone flat and think it lost the emotional appeal that the book invoked.  Its a heartbreaking story and I didn't that get vibe.  I wish I'd read it instead but the audio became available at the library before the book - it's still has a huge amount of holds.

I recommend this book in print/digital eBook format.  Both available from the library and popular bookstores.


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