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Five Little Indians

4.50  ·  Rating details ·  2,539 ratings  ·  370 reviews
Winner of the 2018 HarperCollins/UBC Prize for Best New Fiction Michelle Good's FIVE LITTLE INDIANS, told from the alternating points of view of five former residential school students as they struggle to survive in 1960s Vancouver—one finding her way into the dangerous world of the American Indian movement; one finding unexpected strength in motherhood; and one unable to ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published April 14th 2020 by Harper Perennial
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Linda Cardinal I am sure it’s at Indigo or local bookstores.
Here’s the link for Amazon…more
I am sure it’s at Indigo or local bookstores.
Here’s the link for Amazon

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Average rating 4.50  · 
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 ·  2,539 ratings  ·  370 reviews

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Carolyn Walsh
Aug 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
I believe this is an important book that centres on the horrible systematic abuse native children endured in residential schools. By focusing on the experiences of five children forcibly taken from their families,(which are based on factual accounts), the heart-wrenching experiences should carry a greater emotional impact on Canadians than dry, factual news reports.
The survivors told their stories to investigative panels many years later, and much guilt rests on government policies and religiou
Jul 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Michelle Good is a Cree author from Red Pheasant Cree Nation in Saskatchewan. Her debut novel Five Little Indians follows five residential school survivors in Vancouver as they each grapple with the trauma they were forced to endure in their own ways.

I had a difficult time reading this at first because it was quite triggering. There is some intense substance abuse and sexually traumatic situations in the beginning of the book and for myself this was very difficult to read.

I think anyone with lov
Jiny S
Apr 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
The book perfectly captures the plight of Canada’s indigenous population as a product of institutionalized abuse and systemic discrimination by the Canadian government during 60s when Aboriginal children are kidnapped from their families and communities and coerced into an inhumane educational system that is the infamous residential schools. Countless children suffered forced labour, abuse, and even death under the draconian and punitive indoctrination of the churches under the government’s dire ...more
Oct 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-5-stars
This is a very well written book and, in my opinion, an excellent debut. It was long listed for the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize. It didn’t make the cut for the short list.
At first I was afraid that it was going to tear me apart because some parts are heartbreaking.
There are so many kinds of abuse such as sexual, substance and mental.
I was engaged from the beginning and totally connected with all the characters. The storyline was very well developed without being overly dramatic or repetitive.
Bree C.
Jun 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
For the briefest of moments I wondered “how could someone come up with such horrors to write about?” and then I of course remembered, this is far too many people’s reality.

I loved this book. I cried when it ended. It is so harrowingly beautiful. It is full of sorrow and strength, and I felt as though there was magic and wisdom woven among the words.

In an unexpected way, it also brought me healing: “You know what Mariah taught me about death? That the only thing our loved ones suffer is when we
Sep 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
One of the longlist nominees the Scotiabank Giller Prize (a really awesome literary prize here in Canada), Michelle Good tells us the story of 5 fictional characters after their time in a remote Canadian residential school. Written with compassion and without judgment, this definitely is a book that no reader should bypass.

Favorite book of 2020 nominee

Goodreads review published 12/09/20
Kat Montagu
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I had a fortunate early opportunity to read this wonderful novel. It is vivid, unique and heartbreaking. I highly recommend both this book and this author. I'll read anything she goes on to write. ...more
Mélanie  Côté
Jan 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
« We were children, me and Lily, and neither of us survived , even though I’m still walking »- Clara

For this book club read, ‘Five Little Indian’ was a little difficult to read at first, but it captivated me from the very start and I’ve grown to care about the main characters.

This book showed us the brutal reality of Residential School, how this system took (kidnapped) young aboriginals from their families, stripped them off their culture and individuality and tried to mold them to fit society
Penny (Literary Hoarders)
It took me only two days to read this. I spent my day entirely reading this today. I will miss my time with these "five little Indians". I was fully invested in their stories.

The Vatican and the Canadian government need to pony up large to perhaps come even close to rectify the pain, the suffering, and the torture and the lifelong trauma caused from these horrible Residential Schools. The ironclad collaboration between the Church, the Government and the RCMP made me cry when I thought of these
Shawn Mooney (Shawn The Book Maniac)
As a settler Canadian, I am so glad this book exists and is being nominated for big prizes. Unfortunately, it didn’t work at all for me, due to the writing and especially the naïve, faux Dickensian characterization. I couldn’t finish it. But check out the other, glowing reviews: I’m in a distinct minority.
Jul 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
At the age of 16, after aging out of a Northern BC Residential school, the Indigenous youth in Five Little Indians were not, at long last, reunited with their families. They were put on a bus to Vancouver with a few bucks and no support, no life skills, no connections, no ID. This is where Five Little Indians begins. The trauma the characters endure, both in flashbacks to the school and as they struggle to build a life in the city, is no longer shocking. That doesn’t make it any less horrific an ...more
Rainer F
Sep 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Michelle Good's debut novel is longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and it could really win it. Five Little Indians is a heartbreaking account of five young First Nation kids who were kidnapped from their parents and taken into a residential school, the inhumane, criminal official policies in Canada with the purpose "to kill the Indian in the child". The last of these "schools" was shut down as late as 1996.
Thousand of children died, almost all of the kids who were taken away from their f
Oct 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

The Story:

Taken from their families when they are very small and sent to a remote, church-run residential school, Kenny, Lucy, Clara, Howie and Maisie are barely out of childhood when they are finally released after years of detention.

Alone and without any skills, support or families, the teens find their way to the seedy and foreign world of Downtown Eastside Vancouver, where they cling together, striving to find a place of safety and belonging in a world that doesn’t want them. The paths of th
Susan Sanford Blades
I'm having a hard time figuring out what to say about this book because I really wanted to love it. The effects of the residential schools on Canada's Indigenous people is such an important topic, I wish I could say this novel was the perfect vessel for these stories, but it was not.

My problem with this book is not so much with the plot. Good weaves the stories of five kids after they leave the Mission school on Vancouver Island and the various ways they are affected by and overcome (or not) th
Christie Menzo
Dec 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book - couldn't put it down once I started. With compassion, heart, and tremendous strength, Good tells the story of 5 residential school survivors and the challenging paths their lives take post their time in the schooling system. As a Vancouver resident, the proximity of this book and the characters to home hit me hard. This is one I can see winning Canada Reads..or Vancouver reads in the near future. ...more
Mar 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Michelle Good has written a heart rending story of loss, trauma, and belonging. After a long and appalling ordeal at a residential school, the characters are thrown out into the world with little money or opportunity and expected to survive. Many end up in the downtown Eastside of Vancouver, a harsh and dangerous environment for an innocent young person. It doesn’t take long for the women in particular to be taken advantage of in different ways. There is support for some via the Friendship Centr ...more
Laurie • The Baking Bookworm
4.5 STARS - Five Little Indians is the impressive debut novel by Michelle Good, a writer, lawyer and member of the Red Pheasant Cree nation in Saskatchewan. This is a difficult and emotional read that is a must-read, particularly for non-Indigenous people so they can understand the long-term effects of Indian Residential Schools on Indigenous Canadians and their culture. Equally heart-wrenching and compelling, Good holds nothing back as her story follows five Indian residential school survivors ...more
Shelley Gibbs
Oct 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a Canadian, it feels essential to educate myself about the abuse and neglect inflicted upon children & families by the government, law enforcement, and those purporting to represent God here on earth during the Sixties Scoop and within the residential school system. Obviously, there are myriad non-fiction resources that do this so very well (if you haven't yet listened to the Finding Cleo podcast, I can't recommend it enough), but fiction can do this just as well (and may be more approachable ...more
Gina Morphy
Jan 25, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“I am here today for him and for all the others who died far away from home, alone and unprotected.”

Five Little Indians tells of the triumphs and hardships of five residential school “survivors” as they re-enter society and live with the trauma they faced as young children. I fell deeply for each of the characters and felt extremely saddened at the lasting impact that the residential school system left. I’ll admit that the jumping timeline between chapters had me a little annoyed, but all in all
Samantha Mitchell
Jan 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
Sometimes reading non fiction on a subject feels like a textbook. To really understand what happened in Residential schools and the long term impact they’ve had, reading a book like Five Little Indians is necessary. Fantastic writing.
Allie Lane Sandu
Jan 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
Overall, I loved this book. It was such an interesting, heartbreaking, beautiful story. I did struggle a bit with the pacing (the way it was often non-linear in time had me confused in a few chapters) and the switching between first and third person, which is mostly why I gave it a 4.
Jacob Wilson
Sep 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The storytelling here is really good, you won't finish this without experiencing a wide range of emotions throughout the pages. The dialogue is slightly clunky at times, but the writing is very accessible for such a dark and important subject/history. Enjoyed this thoroughly. ...more
Danielle Mager
Sep 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Amazing book! Definitely a tough read, especially if you’ve known someone who is a survivor of the Residential school system. Made me think of my family and people who have actually lived through this pain and turmoil. Makes a person truly appreciate what Indigenous people go through day-to-day and the demons that they fight on a daily basis.
Andrea Doherty
Jan 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Nothing I say about this book will do it justice, just read it for yourself!
Oct 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Next time someone asks you "Why can't they just get over it?" hand them this novel. Good explores the trauma that the residential school system has left as a legacy for so many Indigenous people in a poignant and heartbreaking way, without blame and guilt, but as an answer to the question of why we can't get over the genocide. ...more
May 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-the-north
This was very good. I enjoyed the format of alternating POVs, with all characters being linked but with non-linear time. I had never read any piece of fiction that dealt with when residential school survivors told of their experiences and were compensated prior to this. That was quite interesting. This book though tragic in many ways, leaves you hopeful for the future. Glad I read it.
Dec 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing

I am SO happy I’m ending the year off with finishing a great book. I feel like I’ve had so many “duds” this year that finding a book that truly spoke to me on all levels was so nice.

Let me start by saying... WOW! This was such a fantastic read. Its raw, emotional, real take on life as a survivor of the Residential Schools in Canada (specifically B.C.) had me experiencing every emotion possible.

This novel pays respect to all of the survivors, and those who, unfortunately, never lef
Amie's Book Reviews
FIVE LITTLE INDIANS is a book that everyone in North America needs to read. This may be Fiction, but it is based in reality and the five main characters are a great representation of what happened to the Indigenous children who were forced to attend Residential Schools.

These Residential Schools are a shameful part of Canada's past and the harm they caused has resonated through multiple generations. That pain is still being felt by Indigenous People to this day. The Truth and Reconciliation Comm
Lorina Stephens
Apr 20, 2021 rated it liked it
It is important to begin this review with the fact I'm Caucasian, first generation Italian, third generation Irish, born in Canada, live a life which many would call privileged, but would do so without understanding of family background, struggle, trauma. I do understand being a victim. But I do not have an understanding of residential school trauma. Having said all that, I do very much find compassion for, and empathy and solidarity with, my First Nations people. I hear your struggle. I champio ...more
Jun 10, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: personal-library
I'm going to say right off the bat here that I'm Irish, so obviously some of the cultural impact and understanding is going to be lost on me. That being said, this rating does not reflect the emotional impact of this book, which was actually the only part of it done well. The author does a very good job when it comes to illustrating the impact that this suffering has had on the characters' lives, and there are some truly heartwrenching scenes in this book. The fact that all of it is true -- that ...more
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Play Book Tag: Five Little Indians - Michelle Good - 4 stars. 1 13 Nov 22, 2020 11:58AM  

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Michelle Good is a writer of Cree ancestry and a member of the Red Pheasant Cree Nation in Saskatchewan. She obtained her law degree after three decades of working with indigenous communities and organizations. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing at UBC, while still practising law, and won the HarperCollins/UBC Prize in 2018. Her poems, short stories and essays have been published in magazines ...more

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