Saturday, October 20, 2018

Book 11 of 2018-- Indian Horse

I chose to read this book because my eldest is reading it for school and I thought I might be better able to push her on what it i about if I read it as well (English is not her strongest subject).  I am really glad I did.

I had gone to see the movie based on the novel earlier this year and found ti very powerful. As is usually the case (pretty much always the case in my opinion) the novel is far better than the movie.

From a literacy point of view this is a fairly easy read. The text is accessible. The style is easy to read (for those of us used to reading more formal writing especially). Wagamese paints pictures and draws the reader in to keep reading.

At the same time this is not an easy book to read. The story is about Saul Indian Horse, effectively left orphaned at age 8 and hauled off to a residential school We watch as Saul struggles his way through that experience and finds a way out through hockey--only to encounter the reality that is racism in Canada of the 1960's and 1970's. We also watch as Saul's life eventually falls apart into rage and alcohol. Indeed the book is written as Saul remembering his life as part of healing from his alcoholism. There are terrible stories told. Indeed I find it a brave choice for a high school class because it will call for skills beyond reading and interpreting -- certainly nothing we read in high school 30+ years ago pushed the emotion so strongly.

A few months ago I encouraged folks to see this movie. Now I have to encourage folk to read this book. (Later this year her class is reading Ready Player One. I may have to give it a go a well. Also they are reading Merchant of Venice. I wonder how my Shakespeare reading skills are after all these years...)

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