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Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite
In A Child is a Piece of Paper by Lance Crossley, the year is 1960 in an Indian reserve in Ontario and six-year-old Wally’s (Wanisin) life is about to change forever. Wally and his elder sister, Mabel, are offered the opportunity to receive an education that will give them a better chance in life. Against their father's wishes, the children are sent to a Catholic residential school run by Father John Paxton. Once they arrive, they realize that the school is a harsh, deadly place, where only the strongest survive. Paxton and Sister Velma are determined to rid the children's malignant souls of their native roots and brutal punishments await those who disobey. Once Wally leaves the school, he carries the nightmares of his time in Dresden Lake School with him. He tries to become a member of society, but his past experiences cast a shadow over his marriage and as a father. He longs to put his mental ghosts to rest and to do this he must return to the place where it all began; Dresden Lake School.
The story line of A Child is a Piece of Paper by Lance Crossley will stay with you long after you have finished reading the last page. I was absolutely hooked by Wally’s story. The characters are diverse and vivid, from feisty Mabel to witty and fearless Gordon. Wally was an amazing character. I was really rooting for him to find peace in his life. I have to say it has been a while since I have come across such vile antagonists as Father Paxton and Sister Velma; they were absolutely abhorrent. The whole story is engaging, and the way the native Indians were treated and their natural habitat destroyed will definitely make the reader incensed. The author has created the most outstanding story of survival in a world that just doesn't seem to care. I feel I have definitely been on an emotional rollercoaster reading this book. Without giving any spoilers away, the ending had me in tears. An exceptional book by a very talented author.