Wenjack by Joseph Boyden



I have heard very good things about the author Joseph Boyden on on booktube, Canadian seem to like him. When his newest book was on sale I ordered it right away. The book seemed very interesting and had good ratings on Goodreads. One thing I didn’t know before it arrived in my mailbox…It’s tiny, like 112 pages tiny. But as they say good things come in small packages. The plot of the book is one from a very dark time in Canadian history. It is written partially from the point of view of  a young Ojibwe boy, who ran away from his residential school in Northern Ontario. Along the way, the spirits of the forest comment on his predicament and ultimately comfort him on his journey.

This book is amazing!!! I would call it a tiny masterpiece. Although it may only be 112 pages, so much in conveyed in that small amount of writing. The story is beautifully written on such a hard subject. The main character is such an innocent young boy, going through such a brutal time. You can only feel sympathy and heartbreak towards this boy. There are a few others along the way, but for the most part the only character you really see in depth is Chanie Wenjack. I loved that this was written from the boys perspective. It felt as if the author was giving Chanie a voice, which was brutally stripped from his people.

This story is unbelievably important to Canadian history. It isn’t nice to read or talk about, but it happened and it needs to be known. I would actually say that this would be a good book to be read in schools, because to be honest when I was in school, they barely talked about it at all. Most of what I have learnt about residential schools is what I have learnt on my own through research and documentaries. It is important to know the atrocities that happened to the indigenous people, so that we can start to fix it and to be sure that nothing like this ever happens again. I also think that it could enlighten a lot of Canadians,bringing a better understanding to the problems that our natives have, we caused it. If you emotionally and physically harm 7 generations of an entire group of people it is going to take some time for reconciliation.

This novella can now be considered my new favourite book. It takes about an hour to read and to absorb it in, but it will leave you thinking. I will carry this with me for many years. This book broke my heart. It is one thing to know what happened in theory, written from scholars points of view. To hear a story told from the point of view of a 12 year old boy who is going through it, makes it hard to read. Reading about his emotions, the fear and the sadness, made me so sad that this had ever happened to so many kids and families. This story in particular is a piece of fiction, but the little boy in it was a very real person. The spiritual aspect may be fiction, but the residential school and the escape are true.

I would most definitely recommend this to absolutely everyone, especially Canadians. It would be an important read for us all, about this dark time in our country’s history. You need to know about the good and the bad.

Let me know if you guys have read anything else by this author. This was my first book by him and I have now fallen in love with his writing.

19 thoughts on “Wenjack by Joseph Boyden”

  1. Your review is so well written! Sometimes it can be so hard to take difficult situations and see them from a younger child’s point of view. But this is a tactic that can also create a truly successful and resonating read when done properly. It seems the author has accomplished this. I am going to be looking Wenjack up on my Kindle.


  2. There is quite a bit of controversary surrounding this author right now, about his claims to an indigenous heritage. I don’t think that takes away from his writing, I find his stories to be excellent, but it is interesting to read the discussions. There have been a number of articles written in the last few weeks about him – you might find them edifying.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I had no idea I just read a few. Very interesting even within the indigenous community they are undecided. Some seem to love the work he has done as part of community no caring about his blood. While others seem more concerned he has claimed heritage to specific groups or that he has received awards for indigenous people and he taking away from them. Very interesting, although I still like his writing and want to continue with it, and I think he is bringing light to issues that aren’t always talked about or dealt with.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow this sounds awesome! I keep seeing this book everywhere but didn’t know what it’s about. It sounds like an inspiring piece. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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