|author- Katherena Vermette|
A 13-year-old girl is viciously attacked in an open field. A young Metis woman sees, from her house, that someone is in trouble and calls the police. The piece of land is called "The Break" and I thought that was the reason for the title. However, there is a much larger theme in this book that is reflected in the title.
This whole novel centres around the crime, drawing in all the family members- four generations. Unfortunately, it is mostly the female family members because most of the men have left.
Because there are so many characters involved, the story seems disruptive. But in hindsight, that seems to be the right format for this book. It is about native women and their lives are very disruptive. The generational pain is so apparent in the ways all of the women cope with their lives- drinking, crying, switching men. They are constantly looking for 'something'. And, because the mothers are preoccupied, and the fathers are absent, the children have no stability or direction in their lives.
And so, the title: "Broken". The women are all broken. It is a cycle that just keeps repeating.
This book was ideal for discussion.
We are very interested to see what Candy Palmater will have to say in her defence of this book on the Canada Reads panel, March 27-30. Candy is a comedian/broadcaster.