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Dream Wheels

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  158 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
Rodeo cowboy Joe Willie Wolfchild, riding an explosive bull called See Four and moments away from becoming World Champion, suffers a devastating accident. His parents and grandparents use all their native wisdom to ease him out of his subsequent bitter depression, but without success. Meanwhile, in a distant city, a troubled young kid named Aiden plans a holdup that goes ...more
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published August 22nd 2006 by St. Martin's Press (first published 2006)
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(showing 1-30)
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Kay McCracken
Aug 01, 2009 Kay McCracken rated it it was amazing
Richard's novel takes the reader into many unforgettable places: into the mind of a bull (extraordinay!), into the pain of a champion bull rider who has been badly damaged -- both physically and emotionally -- into the inner life of a single parent who finally gathers the courage to escape her abusive husband, into the psyche of her teenage son who is in danger of locking his emotions away forever, and into the warmth and wisdom of the Native family who open their ranch and their hearts to these ...more
Linda Robinson
Feb 09, 2014 Linda Robinson rated it it was amazing
Wagamese's skill, clear understanding and heart glow in the storytelling of Joe Willie Wolfchild and Aiden, two men galaxies apart in experience, yet twin stars in an embattled dust-choked rodeo arena that can mean glory or death. There is a rightness to the ancient dance of humans and nature as Wagamese writes, respect for skills, and most welcome, an abiding belief in the power and dignity of females. For that alone, I can praise Wagamese mightily. The prose is heart clenching. I have the ...more
Barbara Morris
Jul 29, 2013 Barbara Morris rated it it was amazing
I _loved_ this book. I would never have imagined that I'd want to read a book about jail and abuse and bull-riding. But I was immediately drawn in, and kept in, and now I want to read more by Wagamese, no matter what the subject.

It's rare for me to enjoy books that have long espository paragraphs, normally preferring books with mostly dialogue, but Wagamese has such a wonderful lyrical quality to his writing that I read them as carefully as I read the dialogue. Interestingly, many of the setting
Carol Stephen
Dec 21, 2011 Carol Stephen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first came across this book as book fair coordinator at a Canadian Authors Association conference in Ottawa, where it had received the CAA Fiction award. Just reading the blurb on the back cover, the first two lines, was enough to make me want to read the rest of the book.

"The great bull was true to his name. He detonated."

I found the writing compelling, the characters well-drawn, and in places rather poetic in its phrasing. I enjoyed the descriptions of life on the rodeo circuit, the conflic
Oct 13, 2009 Gregory rated it liked it
A good story is a good story no matter what the genre and indeed this is a good story. In the first and last chapters my heart was pounding and had to remind myself to breathe. There were a lot of good chapters in between too. I would have given this book four stars but there were times when Joe Willie, the busted up rodeo champion didn't ring true. The Mothers and Grandmothers also got just a tad preachy on occasion. But overall this was a fine book. I liked it.
Sep 20, 2015 Mortira rated it it was amazing
Shelves: oh-canada
Dream Wheels is a beautiful novel, and a delicious piece of literature. I think the most telling compliment that I can give is that there isn't a single description of food or clothing in the entire book. The existence of a hat or cup of coffee might be noted, but there is just too much story to leave room for anything else.
May 30, 2011 Nancy rated it liked it
a little overwrought but a great vision and amazing descriptions of rodeo and the power of landscape. characters a bit too caricature... they sometimes seem more symbolic than real. very poetic and a little spiritual. in a good way.
Jan 25, 2012 Sharon rated it it was amazing
Every single time I read a book by Richard Wagamese I savor both the story he spins and the craftsmanship of the telling. He is a gifted writer!
Apr 12, 2013 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
I love it when a book pulls me in right from the quote in the preface. Of course, lots of seemingly promising books fall flat, once the actual author of the book steps in. So I usually make sure to read the first page before deciding whether to keep reading.

It's so satisfying when a book follows the first-sentence-of-a-novel-must-be-compelling rule. It's the rule that makes me need to continue reading, wondering what will unfold next. (Did you go to the same school that I did? Did you sit in the
Dec 06, 2016 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very sensory book, lots of sights sounds and smells. It is a very spiritual to. A lot of First Nation philosophy in this story of a son and mother finding a new path in life thanks to life on a ranch.
Wayne Inkster
Oct 14, 2016 Wayne Inkster rated it it was amazing
I walk away from this book filled with hope. Each of Wagamese's books impact me. I find them all similar but yet each unique. This one is one of my two favorite. Perhaps it is because I see some of my past in the story... in Aiden and in Joe Willie.
Nov 04, 2014 Benjamin rated it it was amazing
Joe Willie Wolfchild, part American Indian, son and grandson of rodeo riders, a natural rider himself from a very early age, was on the brink of world championship when a disastrous ride left him crippled, with no hope of riding again.

Around the same time Aiden, fifteen years old, born of a white father he never knew and beautiful black mother desperate to find a steady man, endured his mother's men who saw him only as a way to his mother, Claire. Fitting in with neither the black nor the white
Steven Buechler
Aug 16, 2011 Steven Buechler rated it really liked it
An interesting story about two males who come together and deal with their pains and their identities.

-page 188-189

"Against the sky the trees looked like fingers streched upward in something that looked like praise. Joe Willie shook his head. Sometimes a man thought the most amazing thoughts alone on the land. When he used to ride the trails abouve the ranch he'd find himself drifting from thought to thought like a kid leaping stone to stone across a stream. It was the part of riding he enjoyed
Jun 11, 2016 viemag rated it it was amazing
This book is one of my top 10 reads for 2016. I loved the lyrical language and descriptions of nature. I also enjoyed the story when the author took the reader into the mind of a rodeo bull or a grizzly bear. I really felt like I understood what those animals were feeling, thinking, and planning. It added to the danger of the situation and the tension of the story. The author did a wonderful job of weaving the subplots together into one story and the sense of time was also very good. I also ...more
Shonna Froebel
Jan 19, 2014 Shonna Froebel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian
This story deals with the growth and maturing of more than one character. There are many themes present here and it would be a good choice for a book club.
Joe Willie Wolfchild is about to become a World Champion rodeo cowboy when he is severely injured by a bull he is riding. As he comes to terms with the way his life has changed as a result of the injury, he is supported by his close family.
Claire Hartley and her son Aiden have lived a nomadic life as Claire has moved from one unsuitable man to
Jun 01, 2016 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful story, beautifully written. Draws you into the heart of the cowboy, the heart of being Native American, the heart of a strong family. I have only been to one rodeo and I found it to be so violent I've never been to another. So I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book. The descriptions of the bull riding brings a majestic, athletic artistry to it. It's described from both the rider and the bull's point of view. Mostly this is a story of Joe Willie's healing of his body and mind, and ...more
Oct 13, 2013 Bharathi rated it liked it
Beautiful words, a great story, and a lovely book. The descriptions were fantastic. For a long time, I was in the book, I could see and feel what he described. It was going back to the land of rodeos, bulls and horses which I got introduced by Lesley Craig.

Definitely, the male characters are more rounded than the female ones,and you resonate more with the younger ones.

The concept of male bonding over bulls and cars, is an old one, but Joe Willie and Aiden's characters have a grace, that is not
Mar 23, 2012 Christian rated it it was amazing
Seldomly does a book like "Dream Wheels" come along where, as a reader, we find ourselves thinking of it throughout the day or wondering what the characters are up to in our absence. Each time I open its covers to continue reading, I feel like a miner of precious minerals, for there are brilliant nuggets of wisdom hidden among the beautifully wrought language and imagery. Wagamese does an outstanding job of storytelling, and raises the art form to new heights. Recommended.
Apr 11, 2012 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
I want to refer back to this book to be a better writer. The symbolism, characterization, spare dialogue and way of introducing events and concepts were wonderful. An injured cowboy and a teen ex-con team up to ride bulls and fix up an old truck. Loved the themes of tradition, the land and humanity overcoming race.
Mar 31, 2014 Claire rated it really liked it
richard paints the prairies and foothills with the skill of a master. I could see the sky's expanse; feel joe willie's mutilated shoulder; hear Victoria's and Joanna's laugh. my fingers rested in the grooves of the car's dash and my eyes locked with the bear's. I am thrilled to have met this author through his words and now have more to read
Fred Ann
Aug 10, 2014 Fred Ann rated it liked it
A black teenager visits an Indian cowboy ranch after his release from jail. The Indian cowboys are rodeo bull riders and the injured almost world's greatest bull rider is on his way to recovery after a devastating injury while riding a bull. The story is about family traditions,, challenges and new beginnings, for the young exconvict , the injured bull rider and the teenage boy's mother.
Jeri Strickland
Jan 22, 2009 Jeri Strickland rated it liked it
Richard Wagamese is wonderful descriptive writer.

I read a description of Richard Wagamese's writing as "lyrical". I agree. Richard Wagamese is a Canadian First Nations Writer and periodically writes columns for the Calgary Herald newpaper.

It took a bit to get into the book, but I was definitely rewarded. Great book.
Greg Olson
Sep 08, 2015 Greg Olson rated it it was amazing
Wagamese is an astute writer whose grounding in native traditions allows him to seamlessly mix the past and the present. While the characters seem wooden sometimes, Wagamese makes up for it by creating an enthralling story that revolves around the teaching that we are all related.
Natalie Carvajal
Found it at Chapters, in the bargain section and I'd read Keeper 'n Me before and loved it, so I picked it up. Great book! I haven't read it for a while though, I'll write more about it later.
Jan 07, 2008 Linda rated it it was amazing
This was one of the best books I have ever read. All the people I recommended it to said the same thing.
Janetsinclair rated it liked it
Jul 14, 2014
Jessica rated it it was amazing
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Richard Wagamese is one of Canada's foremost Native authors and storytellers. Working as a professional writer since 1979 he's been a newspaper columnist and reporter, radio and television broadcaster and producer, documentary producer and the author of eleven titles from major Canadian publishers.

An esteemed public speaker and storyteller, he lives in the mountains outside of Kamloops BC with his
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