Five Little Indians is a novel that looks at the lives of five individuals and their struggle to find a place in the world following the trauma they were subjected to within Canada’s Residential School system.
We’re only two months into 2022 and I’m positive that Michelle Good’s novel will easily earn a spot in my top 5 fiction reads at year’s end. Good’s story about Kenny, Lucy, Clara, Howie and Masie will stick with me for years to come. Like many, I am only just now attempting to educate myself about the horrors of Canada’s Residential school system and the long-term damage left in its wake.
The five characters within the book feel both real and endlessly tragic. Good is of Cree ancestry and works as a lawyer helping those in indigenous communities and organizations. This no doubt fueled her passion for writing this heart-wrenching novel. Five Little Indians is a story that absolutely must be read and helped me gain further perspective for those who lived through the system and continue to experience overwhelming and relentless trauma.
As if the long-term damage suffered at the hands of the church wasn’t bad enough, those who make it through to the other side, are released from the school with nothing more than a few bucks and a bus ticket. It’s no wonder so many fell through the cracks. There was no support system in force to help them navigate this new post-school world. If you were lucky enough to have a home to return to, it’s rare that your abduction years left an irreparable hole in your parents’ lives.
Michelle Good tore my heart out over two hundred and ninety three pages. If you’re like me and were only tangentially aware of what happened in those schools years ago, I can’t think of a better education than Good’s novel.