I have to admit that I almost did not buy a copy of Son of a Trickster! I am ok with swearing and graphic language but really struggle with that “c”word which is sprinkled throughout the first chapter. During the author event at Laurier University, I cringed hearing that word during the reading. The author shared that she herself does not swear much but her characters do! Lucky for me, I kept an open mind and got carried away with the infections laughter and engaging storytelling of Eden Robinson.
Son of a Trickster is a coming of age story describing the challenging teenage years of Jared who lives in a home of drugs, alcohol, parties and poverty. His parents are separated, he has been physically abused, he lives in a basement, has few friends and his beloved dog just died. He kindly supports his elderly neighbour, Mrs. Jaks who has been diagnosed with cancer and is the caregiver of her spouse with dementia.
School is a challenge and he to supported his family selling weed cookies which led to more problems. His life is a blur of alcohol and drama when he starts blacking out, then seeing images of a bear, fireflies and even dangerous otters. He bounces through relationships with other students, the neighbour’s granddaughter and other family as he comes to terms with his own situation.
As Jared reflects on his childhood and learns more about his family and his indigenous heritage he must make choices which will impact his future. This is a difficult story to read but sadly, there are likely many teens living in such situations. Eden Robinson has made the tale real and introduced indigenous heritage and mysticism into the story. She shared that this is the first book in a trilogy and I will look forward to reading what comes next for Jared… and hopefully hearing her speak (and her hearty laugh) again!