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The Shoe Boy

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  86 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Duncan McCue's memoir of a season spent hunting on a Northern Quebec trapline as a teenager is frank, funny and evocative. It’s also a beautiful rendering of a landscape and culture few people know. A reporter for CBC’s The National, McCue is Anishinaabe—a member of the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation in southern Ontario—and currently lives in Vancouver. This is ...more
Published June 28th 2016 by Nonvella
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Average rating 4.12  · 
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 ·  86 ratings  ·  20 reviews

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George K. Ilsley
A slim volume of memoir that touches upon a formative 5 months in the woods near James Bay. I met Duncan McCue at Joy Kogawa House, and he explained the book started from an exercise where he was supposed to write about a teacher. Here the teacher is the "old man" (a term of respect) who teaches mostly by being and showing. Eventually I realized that McCue is doing the same thing here in this text. He presents the story, without a lot of analysis, and leaves it to the reader to reaches their own ...more
Nov 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
A quick, riveting read. Really enjoyed this memoir, especially after getting the chance to work with the author for a week.
Val Lem
Feb 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
McCue recalls the five months, when he was seventeen, that he lived on the land with a Cree elder, his spouse and three younger sons. I'm old enough to remember the construction of the James Bay hydro-electric project and read stories about the impact on the land, the first nations, and related issues that came to light years later. I was unaware until I read this work about the measures taken by the first nations to ensure that folks like Robbie Matthews, Sr. kept an experienced eye on the land ...more
Jane Mulkewich
Sep 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. A slim memoir, so a quick read, but so very evocative and compelling. Author Duncan McCue (now a CBC personality) was raised in the city with indigenous heritage, and he writes about the five months he spent in the bush with a Cree elder and his family, when McCue was seventeen. As he straddled two worlds, between belonging and not belonging, he writes about his experiences and leaves it up to the reader to draw your own lessons or conclusions (that is great memoir writing!). ...more
Jan 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
This is a very quick read - more of a lengthy magazine piece than even a novella - about the five months TV reporter Duncan McCue spent living with a Cree family at their "trapline" on James Bay. Throughout, McCue switches from personal experience, to a wider explanation of Cree culture, how hunting is managed, the impact of the massive James Bay Hydro-Electric Dam, even touching on suicide amongst Indigenous youth.

At 17, McCue feels neither Cree nor white. He is the product of a proud Indigeno
Karen Lowe
Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really liked this short book and that glimpse it gave me into the life of a Cree hunter. It made me think about how the choices made by early colonial settlers all the way to the Canadian government affect natives. Change can be good or bad or something in between. All people need hope and opportunity and acceptance to survive.
Duncan McCue is a masterful writer, balancing backstory with his experiences to craft a wonderful memoir.
Darryl Diamond
Dec 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: can-read-again
A read of landscapes and connections between an Ojibwe to Swampy Cree. Mis-tah Duncan sees lands, waters and skies by 'Big River' as I do.

I find it a wonderful read because eeyou life is (still to this day) the foundation of the generation I'm born into. I have cousin who lives this life Duncan writes about.

I've waited years to read this... and tomorrow - I'll mail it up to my sister who lives on eeyou-itchee.

Right on McCue - agoodah.
Oct 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a novella, first book published by a well-known Canadian journalist, originally trained as a lawyer; a poignant and vivid account of his immersion experience for 6 months, as a 17 year old, with a northern Ontario James Bay Cree family living off the land. McCue also brings the challenges of maintaining this lifestyle and stewardship culture, including some of yhe context of the effects of the massive James Bay hydro project, to a broader audience. Short and well worth the read.
Dec 18, 2020 rated it liked it
The story is intriguing but the self-awareness is shortened to a few lines. The actual coming of age episodes are ok, but the realization that he is Native but not -on the land Native- is just not enough to keep a reader interested.
Easy read, lovely reconnection with a past nomadic life and yet it missed something to make it truly interesting.
Feb 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
A short memoir by CBC's Duncan McCue, describing his five-month experience with a James Bay Cree family, learning about hunting and trapping from those who do it in traditional ways. Very interesting read. ...more
Jan 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
I was searching for something, which can satisfy my thirst for curiosity and culture and this memoir perfectly served my needs. I have really enjoyed reading it.
Nov 25, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved getting to know the story behind the guy on CBC. And it’s an easy read, well-written. But I was left wanting more about him and maybe even more about the Cree.
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Duncan's exploration of what it means to have Indigenous roots without being fully Indigenous, as in have lived on the reserve, is well designed and interweaved with serious historic events. ...more
Aug 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Heartfelt and interesting.
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
An interesting and enjoyable read. It provided a look into how traditional Cree live and the effects colonizers have had on that way of live.
Michelle Chan
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
a quick read memoir, illuminating parts of life completely unknown to me. refreshing.
Daniel Rowe
Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
An excellent short and well-written narrative of the trap line and traditional lives of the Cree. It's impressive how much McCue gets into such a short book. Very good read. ...more
Dec 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
A well written personal account of living in a hunt cabin for five months.

The scenery descriptions are beautifully written and interspersed with historical facts that help ground the journey of a 17 year old in the broader context of the Cree way of life & changes (traditional, historical, presently).

Kathy Stinson
Oct 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This compact memoir was a satisfying read, offering insight as it does into Duncan McCue's feeling "not Native enough" and "not white enough." But I'd also happily read more - about that aspect of his life especially. It's a 'what would it be like' that I'd really like to understand more thoroughly. ...more
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Award-winning journalist Duncan McCue is the host of CBC Radio One Cross Country Checkup. McCue was a reporter for CBC News in Vancouver for over 15 years. Now based in Toronto, his news and current affairs pieces continue to be featured on CBC's flagship news show, The National.

McCue's work has garnered several RTNDA and Jack Webster Awards. He was part of a CBC Aboriginal investigation into miss

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