Abandoned by his parents as a toddler, Jesse Thistle briefly found himself in the foster-care system with his two brothers, cut off from all they had known. Eventually the children landed in the home of their paternal grandparents, but their tough-love attitudes meant conflicts became commonplace. And the ghost of Jesse’s drug-addicted father haunted the halls of the house and the memories of every family member. Struggling, Jesse succumbed to a self-destructive cycle of drug and alcohol addiction and petty crime, spending more than a decade on and off the streets, often homeless. One day, he finally realized he would die unless he turned his life around.
In this heartwarming and heartbreaking memoir, Jesse Thistle writes honestly and fearlessly about his painful experiences with abuse, uncovering the truth about his parents, and how he found his way back into the circle of his Indigenous culture and family through education.
I wasn’t sure what this book was going to be. Turns out it is a brutally honest description of a life wasted. Jesse recounts his descent into alcohol, drugs, homelessness and hopelessness. At times it is hard to follow as it is written in small excerpts as Jesse remembers them and sometimes they jump from place to place. Jesse holds nothing back, sharing the disappointment of his family and friends and even himself as he turns into his father who he also disliked due to his actions. But in the end Jesse proves that with the will to live and the desire to achieve the cycle can be broken.