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In Search of April Raintree

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  882 Ratings  ·  68 Reviews
The powerful and moving life stories of two Metis sisters who suffer the breakdown of their family relations and the injustices of the social services system.

Ten critical essays accompany one of the best-known texts by a Native Canadian author.

Paperback, 25th Anniversary Edition, 240 pages
Published 2008 by Portage & Main Press (first published 1983)
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Métis sisters April and Cheryl are put into different foster homes because the State has deemed their parents unable to take care of them. Although they remain in touch, the two sisters grow up very differently. April is put into a racist foster family that makes her ashamed of heritage, where as Cheryl is put into a part Métis family that makes her proud of it. Of the two, April looks less "Native" and can pass for white. Through her negative experiences she comes to the conclusion that the onl ...more
Melinda Worfolk
This was an assigned novel in my Canadian Lit course in my undergrad. I still remember it many years later (and have re-read it since). It's a gritty and depressing story of two Métis sisters who are removed from the care of their parents, who are alcoholics, and placed in separate foster care homes. One sister denies her Métis heritage to "pass" as non-Aboriginal, and one sister tries to proudly preserve her heritage. It isn't an easy story to read--it deals with rape, prostitution, and abuse-- ...more
Katie Kenig
There have been more than a few times over the last couple of years that my book club has chosen a book that I never would have looked twice at. This was one of them.

When I mentioned to a few non-book-club friends that I was reading this book, they surprised me by telling me they'd read it in high school, and as I researched a little, I discovered that this is a fairly common school novel for teens in Canada. Being Canadian by immigration rather than birth, I started to look forward to reading i
Caitlin Cranmer
Jan 20, 2012 Caitlin Cranmer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book to read - especially as a Manitoban. It is about two Metis sisters growing up in Manitoba (and eventually move to Winnipeg) and their struggles with coming to terms with who they are. It is a very intense book that deals with a lot of difficult, adult issues such as alcholism, foster care, abuse (various kinds), rape, prostitution and suicide. I have found that reading this book really opened up my eyes to a culture that I am not a part of and seeing how different choices cr ...more
Feb 10, 2013 Jeffrey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Heart-breakingly beautiful - Culleton's unforgiving and raw story so strikingly forces us to confront the deep-seated racism of settler society here in Canada as she brilliantly weaves us into the lives of April Raintree and her younger sister, Cheryl, and their very different journeys to find themselves - April, who desperately wants to pass as white and, ultimately finds little satisfaction in denying her heritage, and her sister, who tries to proudly find ways to integrate being Metis into he ...more
Jun 23, 2013 CJC rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The story was quite moving but the writing itself was frustrating. None of the dialogue rang true, at all. As an example; the scene where Cheryl remembers an entire essay word for word from years before - honestly there were many other ways that could have been handled to make it realistic.

Feb 26, 2010 Abby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian, 2010
Amazingly wonderful book. Not sure why I never had to read this in high school because I know other people had to. I’m just glad that I got the chance.

This was a powerful and moving story of two Native sisters growing up in Manitoba in foster care. The story covers their lives from living with their alcoholic parents to living with abusive foster parents, graduating high school to getting married, and of course everything in between.

Although this book was written in 1983 and captured the era fro
Geraldine Horbas
Mar 01, 2016 Geraldine Horbas rated it it was amazing
I read this book years ago, and I forgot about the brutality of it’s content. As it turns out, there are two versions of this book, one that was edited for use in school, which leads me to believe that I read the edited version previously.

This book deals with serious issues facing First Nations adult children who grew up in foster care, the confusion left in the lives of not knowing how to identify with a culture so beautiful and so simple. April wavers on her identity and many times questions
Dec 11, 2011 Kady rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2011-pre
At first I wasn't too happy with having to read this book. Of course, it could be due to the fact that it was labeled as 'required reading' on our Summer Agenda, therefore making it a mandatory read. Pushing me to reading a novel normally never ends well, especially if it turns out to be a very dull book without much thought in the wording and is only there to teach you a very obvious lesson. Nonetheless, I really did like this book once I had finished it and it helped me to reflect on my role a ...more
Jul 09, 2013 Rheanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My class read this book in grade 10. We were young, the content of this book is very sensitive but I believe it was a good time for us to learn. April Raintree is a wonderful way to open people's eyes to the difficult situations some have to go through. Very often we hear of third world problems and living conditions that are less than desirable in other places. Being from Winnipeg, I was unaware of what was going on in my own backyard. There are very real problems everywhere, even where you thi ...more
Dec 03, 2008 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Its a sad book to read but every woman in Canada should read it, because it happens all the time.
Mark Montgomery
Book about the hard knock lives of "half-breed" Indian women in Canada. I have been told this book is commonly on reading lists in Canadian high schools and colleges. Theme of the book deals with the difficult problem of racism which appears to have no boundaries, even in remote Canada.
Nov 06, 2016 Louise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian, indigenous
The simple writing style leaves a bit to be desired and the dialogue doesn’t always ring true but the story itself is heart-rending and an important one to read.
Dec 30, 2016 Megan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another important Canadian read.
This book was very interesting, but it really didn't have any parallels to 'De tweeling' (The Twins) by Tessa de Loo, as I had expected, as the twins, although separated, were able to keep in contact and even meet through the years they were apart. This was obviously written to tell the world about the injustices which were being perpetrated against the children of Native / Indian / First Nation / Métis families who were taken into care. To be honest, although some of the things which happened i ...more
Louise Croome
A moving and insightful story of two young Metis children taken from their parents and placed in Foster care. Each child ends up taking different approaches to life and as we follow the story we see the difficult trials they both encounter due to the prejudices of society at that time. A thought provoking and at times hard to read reality of our Canadian history. Sadly it still exist for some, in our land of the strong and free. A Canadian must read!
Apr 27, 2016 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is, so many times over, a true story. Culleton does not hold back in her descriptions of the horrors these women faced. However, from true stories I've heard, it is not even close to as horrible as it gets. The way native people have been treated in this country (and elsewhere) is shameful. The trickledown effect of residential schooling and prejudice has scarred our history (and is sadly, still perpetuated) and so many seem unaware. Those that say this book has an agenda... well, it c ...more
Nov 29, 2012 Marianne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Several years ago, my oldest daughter suggested that I should read this book. It sounded interesting but I never picked it up. Then this spring, I published my own memoir. Soon I had people who read my book make comparisons to April Raintree. I even had a school division approach me, telling me their students were studying April Raintree in class and they wanted me to come and share my story with the student. With cudos like that, I had to pick myself up a copy, and I finally did.

I have to say,
Jan 17, 2016 Nia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Have you ever read a book that’s made you feel sick to the stomach because you’ve heard stories from your friends and family that are near copies of what you’ve read? Because I have. That's exactly what reading In Search of April Raintree did to me.

This book leaves you with an eerie feeling — an almost bitter ending that leaves that taste resonating in your mouth, only it’s your mind and you can’t help but think about the events that unfolded in the story.

It’s written in a way that’s suspensef
Apr 02, 2013 Vijeta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
This is the first novel from a Metis writer that I've read. I've been reading a lot of Canadian literature lately and well, it's not quite complete without the native voice. I had no idea about the situation of the natives before going into the novel. I had only read that they fared better than the American aboriginals (read United States), but I guess that isn't the case. The Metis, the Indians were the marginalised back when this work was produced. I can understand that because Indians(India, ...more
Oct 04, 2011 Monica rated it it was amazing
Refreshingly realistic. I'm usually more of a fantasy reader, mostly because I find the historics & biographical books somewhat depressing, seeing as they're usually about surviving some great tragedy. However, I find this book to have enough life to it to be able to tell the ups with the downs, and still make me empathetic to both. Also, a sense of humor is present thorough the book, little bits of dry wit and sarcasm, as well as childish funnies, all of which I adore. So far I'm loving thi ...more
Feb 13, 2014 Erin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book up on a whim and could not put it down...Literally.
I stayed up half the night reading it (even though I'm sick), and finished it today.

This book is ficitonal although it is written in a memoir style from April Raintree's perspective.
It is a book about two sisters and their experiences growing up as Metis. It follows their journey through the foster care system, and their continual struggle with identity. It is fast paced and very powerfully written. It provides two distinct p
Apr 02, 2013 Harriet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have not much to say to this book, but it's an amazing story told whether its fiction or real. The experience I had when reading it felt so real. I'm an aboriginal and I grew up with my family being torn apart. And as I read the story of these two métis girls being separated from each other and their parents, while facing racism and discrimination from others made me cry while I was reading it. Growing up aboriginal is not easy. And if you're not part of the First Nations people I recommend yo ...more
Nov 13, 2010 Mrsgaskell rated it really liked it
I first read this novel seven years ago and it was well worth rereading. It's a powerfully moving book written when the author was trying to come to terms with the suicides of her two sisters. This is the twenty-fifth anniversary edition and sadly this story of aboriginal children growing up in foster care still rings true today.
Mike Hayden
Mar 17, 2014 Mike Hayden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading this I have no clear feelings about how to assess this text. In some ways stylistically it is horrible and in others, the constructedness of it and the affectability of it are masterful. Critically, S.A.T. is an excellent exploration of how racism, negative stereotypes, and the history of Indianness construct and maintain Canadian beliefs about Aboriginal peoples (and in this case the Metis).
Sep 01, 2013 Wendy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
From beginning to end, I was captivated by the tragic story of two Metis sisters betrayed by their parents and the foster care system, and I can understand why it is a worthwhile read for someone seeking to understand more about the kinds of abuses experienced by the Metis. There is a very violent, graphic scene, which is likely the most disturbing passage I've ever read in print, but it is essential to advancing the plot, and ultimately, understanding the tragedy that ensues.
Apr 16, 2013 Suzy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A well written book and a pleasure to read, however it didn't really move me. I think the cause of this was because the main character's reactions to life-changing experiences were too detached, which made it difficult to assimilate with her on her journey; she didn't seem overly bothered by the terrible events, so I wasn't bothered by them either.

However, the book is a classic and an enjoyable read.
Dec 10, 2009 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school
I really didn't think I was going to enjoy this book yet I found it very compelling to read. I liked the main characters and how they were very real. The story in parts was kind of sappy, but for the most part it had a good story line. I actually liked the ending but was unhappy with how the book wrapped up. I found that it just stopped all of a sudden. Other than that it was a good read.
Sep 29, 2011 Vincent rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 10, 2010 Kelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am from Manitoba and I read this book in high school, this was such a touching story and I will be reading it again. It really hits home when you can picture the places that are mentioned in this book.
This is a must read !!
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