Synopsis from Goodreads
The Marrow Thieves first crossed my radar when I went to the first taping for "Canada Reads" on CBC, a show where Canadian celebrities would face off to defend their chosen book. Jully Black chose to represent The Marrow Thieves because of how it sheds light on an overwhelmingly marginalized and mistreated group in Canada. Although the book didn't win the show, it has definitely won in importance and has gone on to win many other Canadian awards -- and it's easy to see why.
Harsh Reminder of Our Past
The Marrow Thieves is a constant reminder of just how brutally Canada has treated its Indigenous Peoples. Although the story takes place in a dystopian future, it's clear that Dimaline's inspiration is heavily based on how First Nations people were treated in Residential Schools. The systematic abuse and racism that haunted generations of children is still felt in our society, and too many people are willing to ignore it. This is a haunting story of just how easy it is for us to revert back to racist thoughts and view people as things. To learn about empathy alone, I would recommend reading this book.
Tension Throughout the Story
Although there are moments that made me laugh, the majority of this book had me holding my breath. I constantly felt like at any moment, the world could bottom out -- and I think that was exactly Dimaline's point. Even today, Indigenous people are treated as second class citizens, and the safety of clean water and shelter that most Canadians take for granted is not necessarily the reality for many people living on reserves. Dimaline does an excellent job creating tension in The Marrow Thieves, ensuring this is a novel that you simply cannot put down because you don't want to miss anything.
A Book That Every Canadian Should Read
As a Canadian, I feel like it's fair for me to say that we have a habit of patting ourselves on the back for being peacekeepers and such a welcoming country. And in many aspects of life, that's definitely what we are. However, we also have a habit of completely white-washing our history and hiding the shameful moments of our past by telling ourselves "that's simply how things were done". I feel that as a teacher, and an educated adult, it's important to teach my students that there are many moments in our past we need to acknowledge so that we might finally begin to fix our mistakes and heal as a nation; one of those mistakes is the treatment of our First Nations people. The Marrow Thieves forces us to pay attention to our treatment of Indigenous people and, hopefully, will make people think about how far we still have to go before we truly make amends to these communities.
I loved this book and I'm so happy I was able to study it with my class. I highly recommend this book to everyone and think it's definitely going to be a book that will makes its way onto many "Important Canadian Books" lists in the future (and if it doesn't, than there is something wrong with the people making that list!). Have you read The Marrow Thieves? What did you think of it?
FINAL RATING: 4.5/5
Hi, I'm Alexandra! I love reading (largely YA fiction, but sometimes I'll read "adult" books), playing board games, Nutella, and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix with my husband.
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