Friday, 22 May 2009

Book Review: Raisin Wine

I was trying to figure out a review for a different book. I have been reading a lot of murder mysteries; you can see from my book review list.

One of my best local reads has Raisin Wine (2007), by our former Lt. Gov., James Bartleman. Written about his home town, Port Carling, it tells a story of poverty, racism and ignorance of Native Culture.

Our phenomenal local man led a lRaisin Wineife that defies belief, yet one I have read in other stories. Native Peoples living in a land raped and overtaken by white folks usurping their territory. Settlers brought with them disrespect for not only the people, but the land. We still find places where the ancient civilizations were referred to as 'savages', as Champlain did in HIS memoir. I surely hope we know better now.

This book is a raw look at living off the land in a land where it was no longer possible. It tells of substandard housing and victims of poverty - living next door to those who maintained two homes: one in the city and one in cottage country. Beautifully written in the third person, we can see how this marvellous man and humanitarian, has risen above the heartless treatment he received as a youth. He managed to become a heartful human being.
angeliqueYesterday's story from McKellar PK. P.S., Lakehead DSB was shocking: a young boy having his hair cut by an educational assistant. Many teachers (thanks to Gr. 6, and 9 curriculum) have learned to appreciate the teachings of the Aboriginal community, including this symbol of strength. It is one recent example of racism. 'Thunder Bay mom wants answers after teacher's aide chops off son's hair'.

The myths of the Underground Railroad seem to give some pride, yet very few slaves escaped using this route. When they arrived in Canada they still faced ignorance. A brilliant story,The Hanging Of Angelique: The Untold Story Of Canadian Slavery tells of the hanging of a black woman. Well-researched, it busts the myths. By Afua Cooper, 2006.

Friday's Forgotten Books-for more book reviews


pattinase (abbott) said...

Thanks, Jenn. And a great choice.

gautami tripathy said...

I have a review blog too:

everything distils into reading

Terrie Farley Moran said...


What an intriguing book. Thanks for this.