Winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award, Five Little Indians has the capacity to break the reader’s heart into a million pieces. Michelle Good’s words draw the audience into the lives of five children that come of age and are released from the control of St. Mary’s Indian Residential School in Mission, B.C. Each of the five must find their own way.
Turning away from so-called “Christian” ideals taught to them in the abusive setting of the residential school, they face the throes of addiction, prostitution, rage, suicide, and other mental disorders in Vancouver’s Lower East Side. Their lives become deeply entwined, clinging to one another to find their way. Although they were released from residential school, their minds remained imprisoned by their bruised and broken experiences.
Each word springs to life as Good describes the endless dramatic, traumatic scenes that are the reality of many Indigenous people who survived residential schools. Alive with artful visualizations, every word causes the reader to turn page after page, never fully able to bring themselves to set it down.
This is a story of succumbing to pain and oppression. It is a story of resilience and overcoming the worst life has to offer. It is a story of returning to traditional values and becoming the voice of the voiceless. This book testifies to the healing power of reclaiming Indigenous culture. “Life was no longer just survival. It was about being someone. An Indian someone, with all the truth born into her at the moment she was placed in her mother’s womb.”
I recommend this book for anyone who wants to truly understand the experience of those who survived the residential schools, which oppressed and crushed those humans God created and called good. (HarperCollins)