From the Ashes

My Story of Being Métis, Homeless, and Finding My Way

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Pub Date 06 Aug 2019 | Archive Date 17 Feb 2022


*Winner, Kobo Emerging Writer Prize Nonfiction
*Winner, Indigenous Voices Awards

*Winner, High Plains Book Awards
*Finalist, CBC Canada Reads
*A Globe and Mail Book of the Year
*An Indigo Book of the Year
*A CBC Best Canadian Nonfiction Book of the Year

In this extraordinary and inspiring debut memoir, Jesse Thistle, once a high school dropout and now a rising Indigenous scholar, chronicles his life on the streets and how he overcame trauma and addiction to discover the truth about who he is.

If I can just make it to the next minute...then I might have a chance to live; I might have a chance to be something more than just a struggling crackhead.

From the Ashes is a remarkable memoir about hope and resilience, and a revelatory look into the life of a Métis-Cree man who refused to give up.

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, whose tough-love attitudes quickly resulted in conflicts. Throughout it all, the ghost of Jesse’s drug-addicted father haunted the halls of the house and the memories of every family member. Struggling with all that had happened, 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. Finally, he realized he would die unless he turned his life around.

In this heartwarming and heart-wrenching memoir, Jesse Thistle writes honestly and fearlessly about his painful past, the abuse he endured, and how he uncovered the truth about his parents. Through sheer perseverance and education—and newfound love—he found his way back into the circle of his Indigenous culture and family.

An eloquent exploration of the impact of prejudice and racism, From the Ashes is, in the end, about how love and support can help us find happiness despite the odds.
*Winner, Kobo Emerging Writer Prize Nonfiction
*Winner, Indigenous Voices Awards

*Winner, High Plains Book Awards
*Finalist, CBC Canada Reads
*A Globe and Mail Book of the Year

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ISBN 9781982101213
PRICE CA$24.99 (CAD)

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Average rating from 4 members

Featured Reviews

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley, in exchange I am leaving an honest review.

What an amazing story of hope from a Saskatchewan-born Métis man.

I work in a Housing First program, where I work to house individuals who are a lot like Mr. Thistle once was. Who have grown up with trauma and struggle with addictions. Some who have lived on the street even longer than this man did. And every day they inspire me and give me hope. Are the all going to be quite as successful as Jesse Thistle? Likely not, though this is a wonderful story to aspire to.

Sometimes success is overcoming everything and getting an education, becoming a scholar, and making an impact on the world. Sometimes success is having the support to keep a roof over your head, food in the fridge, and to just be able to enjoy the small comforts everyone deserves. Whatever your success, or the success of those you support, make sure to celebrate it. Make sure they know you are proud.

Thank you for telling the world your story, I hope everyone who reads it is honoured to have it shared with them.

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