CM Archive
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Beatrice Culleton.
Winnipeg, MB: Pemmican Publications, 1983.
228pp., paper, $3.95.
ISBN 0-919143-32-6. CIP.

Subject Headings:
Métis women-Fiction.
Foster home care-Fiction.
Winnipeg (Man.)-Fiction.

Grades 11 and up / Ages 16 and up

Reviewed by C.H. Mountford.

Volume 12 Number 1
1984 January

This is a moving, if somewhat awkward, account of the life of two Métis sisters as they grow up in a society that frequently treats them quite badly. We have all read about such lives, the broken home, the abuse, the drinking, and the prostitution.

The writer is not as skilful as she eventually will be if she continues to write, but students will respond to the strength of her emotions. When a writer chooses such topics, particularly within the North American Indian context, it is absolutely essential that he or she avoid stereotyping in action or character. This has not been achieved totally by the author despite her obvious knowledge of her material. She is not in as full control of her material as she might be, and, in places, her piling of horror upon horror weakens rather than strengthens the impact of her story. We begin to feel that she is doing this to shock us rather than to advance the story. No matter how true to life a story might be, there is a deeper truth that, sometimes, within the framework of emotionally charged events, less is best.

There is no doubt, however, that this is a worthwhile attempt. Distasteful matters are presented honestly. A more subtle and less strident treatment might have led to an even greater achievement. Senior students in secondary schools, with an interest in social problems, would find this book very interesting.

C.H. Mountford, F.E. Madill S.S., Wingham, ON.
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