Foreword Reviews - - Spotlight - CATHER­INE THURE­SON

Adam Gar­net Jones, An­nick Press (MARCH) Soft­cover $9.95 (232pp), 978-1-55451-977-4

Full of sor­row and long­ing, Adam Gar­net Jones’s Fire Song is a beau­ti­fully writ­ten story about self-dis­cov­ery and nav­i­gat­ing the dif­fi­cult path be­tween dreams and re­spon­si­bil­ity.

Shane is an Anishi­naabe teenager from On­tario torn be­tween his home re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and his de­sire to go to col­lege. His in­her­i­tance from his fa­ther can’t be used for tu­ition; it is needed at home. His sis­ter com­mit­ted sui­cide and his mother is lost in mourn­ing. He is also torn be­tween his so­cially ac­cept­able re­la­tion­ship with Tara and his se­cret love for David, the grand­son of a tribal el­der.

Fire Song is an emo­tion­ally chal­leng­ing book. Life on the reser­va­tion is shown to be des­o­late; poverty, drugs, al­co­hol, and hope­less­ness dom­i­nate the com­mu­nity. The prom­ise of a bet­ter life off of the reser­va­tion is an ab­stract dream, and leav­ing would be seen as self­ish, a dere­lic­tion of duty to the tribe.

Themes of self-dis­cov­ery and com­ing of age are univer­sal, and Shane is sym­pa­thetic as he tries to strike a bal­ance be­tween his dreams and his obli­ga­tions. The choices he faces are painted with un­flinch­ing hon­esty—no mat­ter what he de­cides, there’s no guar­an­tee of hap­pi­ness.

Jones’s writ­ing shines. Shane is a won­der­fully com­plex char­ac­ter, and his con­flict­ing emo­tions as he in­ter­acts with Tara, David, and his fam­ily come across well. Lovely spir­i­tual as­pects are in­cluded as Shane con­tem­plates life and death, the cer­e­monies and tra­di­tions of his tribe, and the land­scape of the world around him.

Fire Song is a pow­er­ful, chal­leng­ing book that is full of deeply mean­ing­ful turns as it boldly en­cour­ages liv­ing life to the best of one’s abil­i­ties.

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