Book Review: Wenjack by Joseph Boyden

“One day I will run.  One day they won’t hurt me anymore.”

Joseph Boyden never disappoints with his writing, to put it simply, it’s just beautiful.  His prose, if you could describe prose as such, is breathtaking.  The story itself is heartbreaking and it leaves you almost aching for a alternate ending.

Boyden’s writing about Aboriginal – Canadian relations has always been very poignant but there is something about a story written about a boy running away from a residential school that just adds another layer of sorrow.  The story isn’t long, just 85 pages on my eReader but it certainly packs a punch.

The history of the way the Canadian government treated different aboriginal groups is not a secret, but it’s not always talked about either, for example, I’m not sure I ever learned about it in history classes growing up.  I certainly didn’t know (I learned in university) that the last residential school didn’t close in Canda until 1996! 1996! What?! Only 20 years ago we were treating these people like lesser than – inferior, in need of a white pick-me-up.

This story is based on a true one, which while the entire book would be heartbreaking anyway because the situation we know to be true, that the story about this specific child is based in fact is just that much more crushing.

What makes the story a more positive experience is the alternating points of view with which the story is presented, alternating between different animals who are waiting for him to come home to them.  It’s simply a beautiful book that has undertaken the task of telling an incredibly sad story.


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