For Joshua: An Ojibwe Father Teaches His Son

Milkweed. Apr. 2020. 240p. ISBN 9781571313898. $24. BIOG
Wagamese (1955–2017) was a well-known Ojibwe writer, and author of several acclaimed works of nonfiction and fiction, including Indian Horse. This final work is a memoir written to his estranged son, about his experiences growing up in foster homes after being abandoned by his family, the challenges of his own decisions, and finding his voice as an Ojibwe writer. These affecting essays are beautifully written, and his experiences resonate on many levels, from the little boy who is experiencing loneliness to the young adult longing to find his place in the world to the adult he became before his death at age 61. Known primarily in Canada, Wagamese gathers the formative experiences, both good and bad, that influenced him and that he wanted to pass onto his son, who was then six years old.
VERDICT A well-written, introspective book on fatherhood and loss that will especially interest readers and students of First Nations life and literature.

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