Book Review for The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline
I’ll admit that I’ve had this book on my shelf for awhile and have only recently picked it up. Then when I did, it took me some time to read because of the disturbing content – and that is not to say that this content isn’t worthwhile, but it is hard. It took me time to digest. Some books are like that for me and I respect that.
This is a very timely YA speculative fiction set in the not too distant future. There is environmental collapse and Indigenous people hold a biological key that white people need and feel they have the right to take. This is a future looking exploration of the residential school system that Indigenous people were required to attend.
The book follows Frenchie, a teen who has joined a group of other Indigenous people trying to survive in the wild and relearn the old ways while avoiding the recruiters who will take them to the schools.
The Marrow Thieves is compelling, hard hitting, informative, hopeful, and absolutely beautifully written. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Dimaline’s absolute mastery of imagery and gorgeous sentences. She has also created an interesting array of characters that I was completely invested it.
I also loved the storytelling aspect to the book, how, within the larger narrative, characters told their own “coming to” stories of how they joined the group.
This is an important book, one that would be perfect for a book club or classroom discussion (though some readers might need support due to the triggering content). And even though it is technically YA, I wouldn’t let that dissuade you from reading it.
TW: rape, murder, genocide, residential schools
(ID: The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline on a red background.)