Friday, May 17, 2019

Review: This Place

Title: This Place: 150 Years Retold
Writers: Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm, Sonny Assu, Brandon Mitchell, Rachel and Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley, David A. Robertson, Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair, Jen Storm, Richard Van Camp, Katherena Vermette, and Chelsea Vowel
Illustrators: Tara Audibert, Kyle Charles, GMB Chomichuk, Natasha Donovan, Scott B. Henderson, Ryan Howe, Andrew Lodwick, and Jen Storm
Release Date: May 28, 2019

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eARC provided through NetGalley

A graphic novel collection of stories by Canadian Indigenous people, detailing the past 150 years of Canada's history from an Indigenous perspective.

Out of Ten: 8/10

Review at a Glance: A fantastic and informative collection of stories featuring Canadian history from Indigenous perspectives.

Review: This one took me... a long time to get through! I liked to take time to process between stories, so it wound up taking me longer than I expected to. I swear I mean to review it earlier but I decided to take my time with it instead. Anyway, here we are. 

This is a beautiful collection, it really is. I'm kind of choosy about graphic novels a lot of the time, and it was great to see a bunch of different art styles together! I think I especially liked the art style of Rosie? It was a little more abstracted than some of the art styles, but it suited the story being told really well, and it was also really pretty! 

In terms of themes, obviously there's quite a bit of darkness because... well... Canada has a lot of dark stuff in it's history with respect to the treatment of Indigenous peoples. I'm still learning all of it. I wasn't in high school that long ago, but it was slightly before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's findings were made public, and my history classes honestly touched far more on the World Wars than on anything that happened at any other time. (Um. My history teacher was really, really into the World Wars. I assume other things have happened in history but he wasn't interested in them.)

While I know the broad stokes from a combination of research on my own and osmosis, the timelines provided with each story really helped me understand the context of the stories themselves. So both in terms of perspective and in terms of actual learning more about the actual events. So I really appreciated having a chance to improve my understanding. They're also just really well done in terms of art and storytelling! So, valuable for a lot of reasons.

I definitely recommend picking this one up! Especially if you're interested in Canadian or Indigenous history (and present, since these stories not only cover up to the modern day but also because the ramifications of how Indigenous people have been treated in the past are very much still being felt), but it's also a good read for anyone, in my opinion. As a heads up, there is some kind of heavy material, but if it's something you're comfortable picking up, it's definitely worth it.

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