Welcome! I love to write, and I love sharing what I write with my readers. I vary my style as much as I can-posting events, creative non-fiction, prose and poetry and the occasional video. Enjoy!



Thursday, July 16, 2015

The miseducation of Augie Merasty |

The miseducation of Augie Merasty |

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Review: Blue Vengeance

Blue Vengeance
Alison Preston, 253 pages
Signature Editions

Blue Vengeance is the latest in Alison Preston’s Norwood Flats mysteries. The imagery on the cover of the book pulls at you right away, especially when you see the image of a young girl lying dead in the water. It makes you wonder, what happened and ask yourself why is this girl dead?

Blue Vengeance opens in 1964 when troubled teenager Cookie is found dead in the Red River. Cookie was a troubled teenager who had been battling bulimia and various other demons, that saw her become distant towards her family before her untimely death.

Your heartstrings are pulled when Cookie’s younger brother Danny stands at the graveyard with his family while burying his sister and as they stand in the rain; he recalls that his sister doesn’t like rain. He turns to his aunt and says, “Cookie doesn’t like the rain.”(pg.1) “Hurry up” he said “We can’t be dropping her down into a lake.” (pg.1)

Blue Vengeance is not so much about grief, loss and coping but also about vengeance for a young soul lost. Danny holds Cookie’s gym teacher responsible for her death because not long before his sister died, he witnessed Mrs. Hartley being mean to Cookie and calling her names in front of her classmates.

Danny and Cookie’s best friend Janine conceive a plot over the course of the summer and fall to kill Mrs. Hartley. Along with dealing with his sister’s death, Danny also has to deal with having a mother who is not capable of helping him through his grief due to her own illnesses and grief. We see Danny grow up faster than his thirteen years as we see the role of parent and child reversed with Danny undertaking household chores and cooking to help his mother out.

Essentially this freedom, allows him to entertain thoughts of seeking vengeance for his sister’s death and not really caring about the outcome.

(Christine Smith (McFarlane)

Previously published in Broken Pencil Magazine

P.S. Please note that once a month I will be posting non Native literary works

Friday, July 10, 2015

Review: Little Brother of War

Review: Little Brother of War

Reviewed By: Christine Smith (McFarlane)

Living up to expectations is something sixteen year old Mississippi Choctaw Randy Cheska is used to. He has lived most of his life in the shadow of his football hero older brother Jack. When Jack is tragically killed while serving in Iraq, the expectations grow more intense because with the loss of his brother his parents lose interest in everything and become more obsessed with having their surviving son Randy live up to their deceased son’s memory.

 Randy gets tired of trying to live up to his deceased brother’s memory and though he has no interest in following in his brother’s footsteps, he is drawn to the game of stickball after he is guided by a mysterious visitor one day while visiting the community hall with his mother.

 He plays his first game of stickball and his interest is aroused. After being asked by the stickball coach to join his team for the World Series of Stickball for the Choctaw Fair, Randy must convince his parents that he not only has an interest in the game but that it is something that he is good at, despite what they want from him-to be a football hero.

 Little Brother of War is a book that encourages youth to learn to be who they want to be and not what someone else wants them to be. Little Brother of War is instrumental in teaching the Seven Grandfather Teachings- wisdom, love, respect, bravery, honesty, humility and truth. It is a refreshing read.

 Little Brother of War is a part of the Pathfinder Series from 7th Generation for youth K-12 years old. It is 112 pages. ISBN 978-1-939053-02-2











Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Poetry Review: Wabigoon River: Poems

Review: Wabigoon River: Poems
Reviewed by: Christine Smith McFarlane

Wabigoon River Poems is written by award winning writer David Groulx and covers a wide range of social justice issues within a global context. In order to fully understand the breadth of the poetry that Groulx writes, one must take in each poem they read slowly.

By reading slowly, it is like ingesting every powerful word and letting yourself fall into the depths of each word that is written. For an example there is the poem “Why Are They Called White People,” where Groulx bluntly says

“Why are they called White people
and not immigrants
or kidnappers

This poem clearly speaks historically of the unsettling relations between non-Native and Native peoples in the past but also in the present. We just need to think of the impact of colonialist policies imposed upon our people-the Indian Act, the residential school system etc.

Another poem that really struck me was “On Seeing a Photograph of My Mother At St. Joseph Residential School for Girls,” where Groulx metaphorically speaks of the sadness that encompasses the image he sees off his mother in a picture from residential school and the storm that ensues from her survival.

“Some of the girls in the picture are smiling. You are not Your
eyes staring into the camera Seem a million miles away

That stare I will see seldom and one day understand that
Storms begin millions of miles away”

Wabigoon River Poems is breathtakingly beautiful. The poems tackle a wide range of issues such as genocide, revolution, and survival. David Groulx does not just speak of Indigenous struggles but he also places other battles, other atrocities and other genocides committed worldwide. A great read overall

Wabigoon River is 58 pages, and is published by Kegedonce Press. ISBN 978-1-928120-01-8

This is a cross post-will soon be posted in Anishinabek News

Friday, July 3, 2015

Review of "Back to the Red Road: A Story of Survival, Redemption and Love"

“Back to the Red Road: A Story of Survival, Redemption and Love”
Reviewed by: Christine Smith (McFarlane)

“Back To The Red Road:  A Story of Survival, Redemption and Love” is a memoir co-written by authors Florence Kaefer and Edward Gamblin. It examines each author’s respective journeys to reconciliation, redemption and love after each survives the residential school era. Kaefer is a teacher during that era and Gamblin is a student.

Kaefer is just nineteen when she accepts a job as a teacher at Norway House Indian Residential School. She states that she was not fully aware of the conditions in which the children lived in at the school, but littered throughout her story are some snippets of what she remembers as a teacher at that time. How can she not be aware when she when she points out an incident of “when a little boy came back after lunch crying,” and when asking the other students what was wrong? They stated, “Mr. Plint had boxed the boy’s ears,” She further states that she confronted the teacher responsible for this child crying and the teacher paid no attention to her request to leave her children alone.

There is other evidence throughout Back to the Red Road that makes me question how Kaefer can purport to not know about the abuse the residential school children went through when she reconnects with her former student Edward Gamblin, and is not only told about the abuses he went through but as a singer he sings about it in various cds that Kaefer comes to own.

Gamblin is five years old when he enters the Norway House Indian Residential School, and though he has been out of residential school for years, you can still hear his pain as he recounts certain events to Kaefer, such as various beatings and being sexually assaulted by one of the priests at the school.

It is after Kaefer is reunited with Gamblin, hears his stories and hears other residential school survivor’s stories that she feels motivated to apologize on behalf of the school and her colleagues.

“Back to the Red Road: A Story of Survival, Redemption and Love” is a heartbreaking read, and as a survivor of abuse, I found it at times to be quite triggering and difficult to digest.

Back to the Red Road: A Story of Survival, Redemption and Love is published by Caitlin Press and is 207 pages. ISBN: 13:978-1—927575-37-6

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Poetry- Remnants of Past Pain

By: Christine Smith McFarlane

Remnants of past pain
hit my very core
leaving me feeling
like there's a hole inside
that will never quite fill up

Remnants of past pain
hit my very core
leaving me with a sadness
i cannot quite explain
the little girl inside
but no one knows
how much it takes
just to stay strong

Remnants of past pain
hit my very core
but i hold my head up
and tell myself

if it wasn't for this pain
i wouldn't be on
this path I'm on