Finished January 11
Keeper'n Me by Richard Wagamese
This novel was one of Wagamese's earlier novels, about a young man, Garnet Raven, who was removed from his native family when he was very young, and taken into foster care. Garnet was shunted around from one foster home to another, and grew up without any connection to his culture. In his twenties he made a connection with a black man and was welcomed into his family in a way he'd never been welcomed into any foster home and began adjusting his identity around black culture. But a misstep in judgment landed him in jail, and it was there his birth family found him.
Upon his release he made his way to the small northern community his family now lived in, and began to get to know his siblings, his mother and his roots as an Anishanabe.
An older man in the community, Keeper, took on teaching him about his culture in a very thoughtful way, and Garnet describes his assimilation of his native culture, his re-connection to the community, and his relationship with Keeper. Interspersed with Garnet's story is commentary from Keeper, about his views of Garnet's assimilation.
This is a book of what it means to belong, about taking the time to listen to your heart and learn what it is trying to tell you. It is a book of family, of culture, and of being human. It is serious and full of humour, just like life. A great read.