#1 National Bestseller
Finalist, Kobo Emerging Writer Prize
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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
As the Canadian government continues to apologize for past atrocities, the ownership of indigenous land grows more contentious by the day. Jesse Thistle’s heart-wrenching memoir reminds us that hearing the firsthand stories of First Nations people is more vital than ever. Born to Métis-Cree parents, Thistle was raised in foster care before being taken in by his strict grandparents. He writes with searing clarity about his teenage descent into drug abuse and homelessness, along with his subsequent journey towards sobriety. Thistle’s unflinching account of his painful personal experiences exposes the brutal systemic problems that underlie them. Peppered with Thistle’s family photos and deeply moving poetry, From the Ashes drew us into Thistle’s journey of discovering his self-worth and making positive changes. It’s a powerful and inspiring read.
Customer ReviewsSee All
An excellent and heartfelt read that gives you lots of perspective on life.
A must-read memoir from an unrepresented voice
You might have heard the headlines “Addict to Academic” or “Homeless to Historian”, but just because you know how it ends, does NOT mean to know the story. Jesse Thistle’s memoir narrates his journey with all the twists and turns of a “choose your own adventure book”, where up to a point, every choice he made led to trapdoors, fighting pits, and heartbreak. Jesse pieces together his broken past and narrates a story that gives you a first-person perspective of someone who beat the odds and lived to tell the tale. His words are both gritty and poetic, filled with harsh truths and hope. A must-read for anyone wanting to know more about what it is to seek redemption and be a better human being.
A raw written journey of triumph and tribulations throughout one mans mission to greatness.