Son Of A Trickster

Son Of A Trickster

Book - 2017
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Everyone knows a guy like Jared: the burnout kid in high school who sells weed cookies and has a scary mom who's often wasted and wielding some kind of weapon. Jared does smoke and drink too much, and he does make the best cookies in town, and his mom is a mess, but he's also a kid who has an immense capacity for compassion and an impulse to watch over people more than twice his age, and he can't rely on anyone for consistent love and support, except for his flatulent pit bull, Baby Killer (he calls her Baby)--and now she's dead. Jared can't count on his mom to stay sober and stick around to take care of him. He can't rely on his dad to pay the bills and support his new wife and step-daughter. Jared is only sixteen but feels like he is the one who must stabilize his family's life, even look out for his elderly neighbours. But he struggles to keep everything afloat... and sometimes he blacks out. And he puzzles over why his maternal grandmother has never liked him, why she says he's the son of a trickster, that he isn't human. Mind you, ravens speak to him--even when he's not stoned. You think you know Jared, but you don't.
Publisher: Toronto :, Alfred A. Knopf Canada,, 2017.
ISBN: 9780345810786
Characteristics: 316 pages ; 24 cm.


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SCL_Justin Jan 17, 2019

This is a good first book in a trilogy, if you're looking for an urban fantasy with first nations themes, but one that feels like a real (or at least a CanLit version of real) life. I really liked how this book had a slow burn of the fantasy elements. You get almost a third of the way through a story of a kid's crappy teenage life before things start getting weird. And because of the way Jared lives, it's easy to side with him when he sees that talking raven as a bad acid reaction.

The ending was not so strong, but chalk that up to the "first in a trilogy" factor. I'm interested in seeing where the story goes.

Jan 10, 2019

This was just plain terrible. A rather depressing look at an indigenous teen, Jared, living a hell-hole existence in Kitimat, BC. An unrelenting account of family dysfunction, drug abuse, alcoholism and poverty. And to top it all off, a hodge-podge, convoluted and ridiculous bit of folklore/magical realism thrown in to make it even more insufferable. Nothing redeeming about this novel -- the odds of Jared getting sober, given his environment, was nothing short of miraculous.

Jun 29, 2018

Eden Robinson is a wonderful, and very funny, writer. I liked this story in which the 16 year old is the only one who holds it together. However, it seemed to get a little silly near the end.

Apr 02, 2018

I would have never borrowed this book if I knew in advance it was the first in a trilogy, and I'll certainly not read the following two parts. This could have been a teenage superhero or fantasy comic book. But it is too dismal, cynical, and foul to recommend to any teenager I know. Mediocre writing, limited vocabulary.

Mar 22, 2018

Enjoyed this book so much, it was riveting, poetic and spoke on many levels about a young teen, his story, his experiences and loved the magical scenes that this author exposes us the reader to. It was chilling and sad then dives deep - take a chance on this novel.

Mar 02, 2018

Jared is a fifteen year-old First Nations youth living with his mother, Maggie and her boyfriend in a small town in northern British Columbia.

To say Jared's family is dysfunctional would be an understatement. His mother has a homicidal temper and has been jailed for assault and mandated to take anger management programs. His home is a party house from which his mother and her boyfriend sell drugs and partake in other criminal activity.

Jared's a smart kid with a smarter mouth and struggles to maintain some normalcy in his life despite his role models. This becomes increasingly difficult since it's not only his family but all his peers who indulge in similar destructive lifestyles.

Indeed, author Eden Robinson has included almost every type of self-destructive and anti-social behavior you can imagine including domestic violence, bullying, promiscuity, self-mutilation, S&M and, of course drugs, more drugs all topped off with binge drinking.

As Jared's life lurches from crisis to crisis he copes by staying stoned or inebriated or both. Soon he can't tell what is real and what isn't. When he reaches out to some elders for help, including his paternal grandmother, he discovers they have an entirely different agenda for him.

Yet despite the magical power of the cultural mythic creatures that align themselves with Jared in his time of need his salvation comes in a very conventional form, which unfortunately makes for an anti-climatic ending.

Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson is a page turner for sure. The author does a remarkable job of defining her characters through authentic dialogue and dramatic action. The story in some places is laugh out loud funny and in others almost too painful to read. Her portrayal of Jared's young life as a First Nations youth is brutal and honest though never didactic.

In this era of "Idle No More", mainstream media has come under criticism for it's coverage of First Nations people and their issues suggesting they are always depicted by the three "Ds" - drumming, drunk or dead.

As a journalist and an author I agree with the criticism and am attempting to understand more about the issues and the people so it can be reflected with honest and empathy in my writing.

Though an entertaining book, Son of a Trickster is an extremely negative representation of First Nations people. It's a good thing Robinson is a First Nations person herself, otherwise it's unlikely her book would have been short-listed for the Giller Prize, one of the most prestigious literary awards in Canada.

Mar 01, 2018

Could only read halfway through then gave up. I agree with a previous comment about the constant substance abuse being tedious. Just got tired of reading about the main character getting drunk and vomiting. The dysfunctional characters were thoroughly depressing.

JessicaGma Jan 16, 2018

It's a different read, and I had no idea it has been Giller nominated when I saw it suggested. I'll be curious to see where the story goes if it is indeed part of a larger trilogy. I liked the mix of realism and magic, and Jared is stuck trying to navigate the two. I'll definitely pick up sequels!

Jan 08, 2018

Wonderful, excellent, funny. I enjoyed this world immensely even though it is so far away from my own reality. Sarcastic humour rules!

Dec 27, 2017

Exciting and ground breaking Indigenous lit! First Eden Robinson book for me and can't wait for the second Trickster series book. Jared was my favourite character in a long time -I'm a sucker for a hyper-responsible teenager protagonist. I was expecting some of the content, like alcoholism and broken families as the legacy of colonialism, but that was even told in a way that I would have loved it even without the amazing magic and myth combination that picks up as the book progresses. I love her sense of humour in the midst of serious stuff as well. These are stories that have been waiting to be told. Huychqua, Eden!

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Nov 12, 2017

Jared hadn't thought anything could be worse than almost being eaten by otters, but he was wrong.

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