Book Reviews: Screenplays/Plays

Only Drunks and Children Tell the Truth by Drew Hayden Taylor

This is the story of Janice, a woman who was removed from her biological family as a baby and raised by a non-Aboriginal family. It is also the story of Barb who was left behind trying to compete with the memory of her sister who managed to achieve a level of perfection only possible in the imagination. The story opens months after Janice returned home for the first time to meet her biological family. We learn that the meeting did not go well, and Barb is unwilling to let go of her resentment particularly given that their mother has since passed away.

In this story, Taylor has achieved the perfect balance between education and entertainment, providing enough truth to be authentic and enough humour to carry the reader along. It also manages to touch upon many of the experiences of Aboriginal people in Canada without becoming a cliché. At the end of the book, I was left with the feeling that I had caught a glimpse of a moment in the lives of Janice and Barb and their struggle to find each other and themselves.

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