LaughingOne

“There’s four directions in the Great Wheel of Life. The Medicine Wheel. Each has things that make it special, give teachings to the People. The whole point of being is to learn to move through all those directions and pick up the teachings on the way. … So we came together for a reason. To be strong together. To be whole. To be a circle.” (page 294) Amelia One Sky gathered to her three other homeless people -- Double Dick, Digger, and Timber. Together they looked out for each other and survived on the streets of the city. One really cold winter they took refuge in a movie theatre, to spend a few hours in its warmth. They discovered movies and were enthralled by them. During that cold winter they scrounged enough money to go to the movies every day; it gave them warmth and escape into a world different from what they lived in. At the movies Amelia befriended a man who was there alone – Granite, to whom they gave the street name of Rock. An unlikely friendship developed as they continued to run into each other at the movies. A found cigarette package containing some cigarettes, three $20 bills, and a lottery ticket changed their lives. The bulk of this amazing novel is about what happens to these people after they win over $13 million. As they move through this new and changing world, we find out things about their pasts. The movies they watch are an ongoing thread in the story, and some trigger reactions that bring the past into the present. The characters in this novel are complex and fascinating, wounded and strong, good-hearted and weak, loyal. Richard Wagamese is an incredible storyteller. I was immersed in the story and only put it down because I had to sleep. As Dick would have said, I was permeated by it. I laughed, I cried, I felt their pain and their joy. I was heartened by the way they created their own family. There are many lessons from the Medicine Wheel that can help us live with gratitude in this world.

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