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The Reason You Walk
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The Reason You Walk > Question #3: Truth in memoir

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David Carr writes in “Reading memoirs, remembering ourselves” that “We of course want the memoir writer … to take a true risk in the telling. Perhaps we rank best those narratives we understand to be most unsparing, self-revealing and authentic. The memoirist we admire shows a compulsion to tell the truths of an experience to readers, even though our human judgements may follow.” Did Wab Kinew take risks in telling his story, or could he have been more revealing? What revelations, in particular, did you admire?

Emily Burns (emilymelissabee) | 124 comments Mod
I felt that Kinew was incredibly courageous in sharing the details that he did - especially as he is a public figure and apparently had plans to run for office. There is something so refreshing to see a person in the public eye owning their story, including their mistakes. It sets a good example for the rest of us, and reminds us all of our humanity.

Allison | 396 comments Well said, Emily. I also thought Wab took risks by being so honest, and that his risks at revealing certain more difficult details really do convey a humanity that is honest and so entirely blameless. I feel as if he is admitting and laying bare the fact that he and his family are not perfect, that everyone's emotions and feelings are valid, that life is a journey and we all make mistakes (and that is okay). When I hear native retellings like this I cannot help but appreciate how this society deals with errors in judgement...it's a very blameless, shameless approach to life. We can all learn something from this way of thinking.

Susan | 130 comments Wab Kinew's truthfulness about his growing up and the challenges that his father faced was courageous - as mentioned elsewhere, he is not unknown. To humble oneself to the narrative - especially when it wasn't pretty sometimes - gave the book its strength. The story of his older brother's suicide and his father's inability to recognize emotions and intervene / offer support was one of the most powerful in the book. It painted a clearer picture of the generational impact of residential schools than I had ever considered before.

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