From the Ashes is a remarkable, powerful, and deeply moving memoir by Métis-Cree author Jesse Thistle and one of my favourite books of 2020 so far.
Using vivid detail and stunning prose, Thistle describes his life as a young Métis-Cree boy growing up in Canada. He shares his experiences with poverty, neglect, homelessness, addiction, and incarceration leading to his breakthrough as he rebuilds his life through recovery, education and reconnecting with his Métis heritage to becoming an Assistant Professor of Métis Studies at York University in Toronto.
Thistle’s voice is authentic, his words and poetry beautiful, and his story is equally heartbreaking, courageous, and inspiring. He shares his darkest moments through the various stages of his life illustrating how family issues, trauma, personal decisions and a disconnect from one’s culture, can significantly impact the trajectory of a person’s life. He also shows how Canadian systems are influenced by systemic racism, classism, and overrun institutions.
From the Ashes is an outstanding memoir and it’s no surprise that it was a finalist in the CBC’s Canada Reads 2020 and is a Globe and Mail “Book of the Year”. Well-written, honest, and full of heart, Thistle’s life is a story about his tenacity, perseverance, and hope. This is a must-read.
— Laurie P.