An amazing book, very well written; a heartbreaking story of loss, suffering, and self-realization.
Pam D. Workman draws clear and vivid pictures in readers’ minds with her measured, detailed, writing. She describes a precocious teenage girl, Nadie, learning both of her First Nations culture and of the now-dominant European culture at school, struggling at the same time to be a mother to her baby sister and a caretaker, in a joint home inhabited by adults beset by alcoholism and irresponsibility.
Finding little help from the elders of her community, or her close friend and schoolmate – a boy who prefers natural ways of living – who too suffers as she does from a lack of devoted mentors, Nadie faces an unbearable loss of the ghastly death of the one that gave her purpose and identity. Unable to overcome this tragedy, and troubled by the numbing, destructive ways her peers and elders cope with their personal and cultural loss, she runs away from home and its safety on a lonely, rather aimless journey.
Nadie faces untold suffering on this path…and though she does find empathy and compassion amidst selfishness and exploitation, both she, and those who attempt to help, realize that only Nadie herself can address the wounds within, with fuller comprehension of all that leads to such wounds, and rediscover her sense of purpose in ways that are fundamental to her life.
‘Questing for a Dream’ is easy to read, flows linearly and seamlessly, and gives a stark view of the realities of life for First Nations people in their world now dominated by another people and culture. A story of great loss and survival, there are instances in the narrative where a sensitive reader may dread what comes next…and instances where one may be overcome with emotion, as I was. The clash between the dominant and the oppressed cultures is clearly portrayed, and so are bridges of communication between the two through human sentiment and compassion. It is a book after my own heart, very similar to my own work, that I recommend to the young and the old alike without reservation. I am glad I picked this up on a promotion, and will look for more of Pam’s work…