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Just Pretending

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  87 ratings  ·  14 reviews
From one of Canada's most exciting new Metis voices comes a book whose recurring themes include the complexities of identity, belonging/not belonging, Aboriginal adoption, loss and abandonment, regret and insecurity.

A deadbeat dad tries to reconnect with his daughter after 22 years away. A selfish poet has been scarred by an upbringing that leaves him emotionally distant f
Paperback, 222 pages
Published April 12th 2013 by Coteau Books (first published April 2nd 2013)
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May 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Someones been lying to you. p21

But what if they are just pretending?
Most of the characters in this brilliant collection of short stories are pretending that they are OK.
Lisa Bird-Wilson tells it like it is. Her prose is like clearwater, swift and clean, often agonizing and sometimes helplessly funny.

The story DeeDee especially stood out for me as almost apocryphal as it traces the slow doom of a reunion in a pub.

These were the things he knew, but it didn't stop him from wishing for something to
Kerry Clare
May 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Books are another thing that happen when you’re making other plans. My friend, Maria Meindl, recently recommended I read Union Street, Pat Barker’s first novel. On Maria’s blog, she writes, “When I read The M Word, I thought of the at-times agonizing intimacy of Barker’s book. She portrays the women in a working class neighbourhood in northern England. At first read, I pegged it as taking place just after World War Two, a grittier version of Call the Midwife; then it became disturbingly clear th ...more
Aug 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Lisa Bird-Wilson, a female Métis author from Saskatchewan, wrote Just Pretending. It is the author’s first book-length work of fiction and is a collection of short stories with a common theme - all told from a Métis character’s perspective. I don’t read too many short story collections because until now I haven’t really been a big fan of this genre. My thorough enjoyment of this book was a very pleasant surprise.

Bird-Wilson's writing is terrific. It is highly skilled, fresh and poignant. All eig
Julie McKenna
Mar 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Heartbreaking stories — particularly those about women and loss. I found this to be a difficult read. Had the good fortune to hear the author read from the book when I was about midway through (and had had to stop for a bit because of the subject matter). Hearing the stories in her voice allowed me to see some of the humour she was sharing. Prior to that, I could see no light side or humour.
J. Robinson
Apr 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
My enthusiasm for Lisa Bird-Wilson’s stories is boundless. With her rich vocabulary and strong narratives Bird-Wilson takes readers into worlds most of us will never experience, and she does so with compassion, guts, and humour. After reading this emotionally stunning—in scope, range, and depth—collection of stories, you will never look at the Metis experience in the same way. The universal themes of love and loss reverberate throughout the collection: children move suddenly and too quickly from ...more
Lisa Guenther
Nov 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
There were several things I liked about these short stories, most of which feature First Nations or Metis characters in Western Canada. First of all, the author delves into tough themes, such as abandonment, sexual assault, child neglect or abuse, mental illness and prejudice.

But the characters are so well developed that I really cared about what happened to them in each story. And the writer treated them with compassion. I think this is important because otherwise I wouldn't have been inclined
Mike Hayden
Mar 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Bird-Wilson is a master story crafter/teller. This collection of short stories is infinitely better, timely and more enjoyable than "The Orenda." Writing about Metis people (mostly women), this book focuses a lot on the concept of mother, but also parenting and belonging in general. Bird-Wilson's addressing of racism in Canada is not overtly blunt and is tempered by her movements between characters and stories. By and by, the emotional range is as great as the prairies. ...more
May 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Some of these stories are just brutal; others are a little elliptical, more like prose poems; and most are just perfect. Really talented writer.
Aug 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
At first, I forgot that this was a collection of short stories..and after reading the first two stories was waiting to make connections to the third.
Funny thing..they actually are ALL connected!!
Connected by life..yesterday, today..and tomorrow.
Lisa Bird-Wilson..thank you so very much for these stories..they are close to my being and living space.
I especially liked 'Oldest Sons' and 'Hungry'..all the stories..though..these two resonated through me for my close ones. 'Hungry' was exceptionally t
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Lisa Bird-Wilson was one of Canada's most exciting new Metis voices when this book came out in 2013. I think that means that now, we can just say she one of Canada's most exciting voices. There are so many characters in this book, but Lisa is able to bring totally believable life, pain and humanity to each and every one of them. It's not an easy book to read. But you should totally read it. ...more
Nov 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful book of short stories.
Sep 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Brilliantly written, absolutely devastating.
Dec 27, 2014 rated it liked it
My read #3 Read Harder 2015, A book that is by or about someone from an indigenous culture (Native Americans, Aboriginals, etc.). Bonus she is also one of the authors coming to Festival of Words, 2015. Good collection of heart tugging stories.
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Shelves: 2017
I didn't quite finish it because it got a bit too dark for me. But the stories I read were wonderful. ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Please combine: Just Pretending 3 15 Apr 07, 2015 07:21PM  

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Lisa is a Saskatchewan Métis writer whose stories have been finalists for the Journey Prize, among others. Her work has appeared in periodicals such as Grain, Prairie Fire, Geist, and in the anthology Best Canadian Essays.

Just Pretending is her first book-length work of fiction. Lisa is the author of one other book, An Institute of Our Own: A History of the Gabriel Dumont Institute, and has also w

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