I received an Advance Reading Copy of this book. All opinions are my own. Publication date: March 8, 2022.
The subtitle of this memoir is “The Ancestral Autobiography of a Coast Salish Punk.” I was interested in this intersection of punk and Coast Salish identity. LaPointe is roughly my age, I would guess, and lives in Washington State. I’ve visited many of the areas she talks about and although we live in different countries, I also live in traditional Coast Salish territory. (A good reminder that our modern country borders don’t align with the traditional lands of its original inhabitants.)
This is a personal memoir, one where LaPointe works through the traumas of both her childhood and her adult life. She is close with her parents and extended family but had an unstable upbringing, moving around a lot and slipping through the cracks of care which seem to have contributed to her sexual assault at a young age. After a series of difficult romantic relationships, she meets Brandon, seemingly her perfect guy, and they are married. But their relationship is far from perfect and as LaPointe begins to write about her own history, it unearths the trauma that she has not yet faced.
As I said, this is a personal memoir, and while LaPointe is Coast Salish, a member of the Nooksack and Upper Skagit tribes, she explores her traumatic history on an individual level. As she dives into her traumatic past and attempts to re-surface, she clings to both her love for punk rock music and her family history. She is the namesake of her great-grandmother, a woman who worked to preserve their traditional language of Lushootseed. LaPointe finds power and identity in claiming this generational history and it is lovely to watch her claim these for her own.
As with many memoirs from writers close to my own age, I was left feeling like the story is incomplete. There is hope at the end but a lot of loose ends, particularly regarding her relationship with Brandon, something that was central throughout. Fair enough, because who has it all figured out in their thirties? Yet I can’t help but feel that in another five years, LaPointe would write an entirely different story about her own life. Maybe she will.