This #1 internationally bestselling and award-winning memoir about overcoming trauma, prejudice, and addiction by a Métis-Cree author as he struggles to find a way back to himself and his Indigenous culture is “an illuminating, inside account of homelessness, a study of survival and freedom” (Amanda Lindhout, bestselling coauthor of A House in the Sky).
Abandoned by his parents as a toddler, Jesse Thistle and his two brothers were cut off from all they knew when they were placed in the foster care system. Eventually placed with their paternal grandparents, the children often clashed with their tough-love attitude. Worse, the ghost of Jesse’s drug-addicted father seemed to haunt the memories of every member of the family.
Soon, Jesse succumbed to a self-destructive cycle of drug and alcohol addiction and petty crime, resulting in more than a decade living on and off the streets. Facing struggles many of us cannot even imagine, Jesse knew he would die unless he turned his life around. Through sheer perseverance and newfound love, he managed to find his way back into the loving embrace of his Indigenous culture and family.
Now, in this heart-wrenching and triumphant memoir, Jesse Thistle honestly and fearlessly divulges his painful past, the abuse he endured, and the tragic truth about his parents. An eloquent exploration of the dangerous impact of prejudice and racism, From the Ashes is ultimately a celebration of love and “a story of courage and resilience certain to strike a chord with readers from many backgrounds” (Library Journal).
About the Author
Jesse Thistle is Métis-Cree, from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, and an assistant professor in Humanities at York University in Toronto. From the Ashes was the top-selling Canadian book in 2020, the winner of the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize for Nonfiction, Indigenous Voices Award, and High Plains Book Award, and also a finalist for CBC Canada Reads. Jesse won a Governor General’s Academic Medal in 2016, and is a Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation Scholar and a Vanier Scholar. A frequent keynote speaker, he lives in Hamilton, Ontario, with his wife, Lucie, and is at work on multiple projects, including his next book. Visit him at JesseThistle.com.
"An illuminating, inside account of homelessness, a study of survival and freedom...I found myselfing gasping out loud at parts, unable to put the book down. Jesse's story shows us that there is nothing that cannot be transformed." —Amanda Lindhout, bestselling co-author of A House in the Sky
"Blown away by From the Ashes. An eloquent memoir of Métis life and surviving the streets by con-turned-scholar Jesse Thistle." —Emma Donoghue, bestselling author of Room
"In this page-turner of a memoir—raw, honest, gripping, wrenching and inspiring—Jesse Thistle gifts us with an intimate and bracing look into the realities, traumas and triumphs of Indigenous life in today's North America." —Gabor Maté M.D., bestselling author of In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction
"From the Ashes makes a terrific contribution in that it brings to light the lived experience of Indigenous People in North America. Thistle makes an especially valuable contribution in today’s growing national conversation about the historic and systemic racism of Black, Brown and Native American peoples, the driving force behind the out-of-proportion rates of homelessness, police brutality, deficient healthcare, incarceration rates, uneven administration of justice, and inadequate education in our nation—all these issues are covered in glaring honesty and brutal truth. A must read for all Americans, but especially for educators, policy makers, and front line workers."—Dr. Sam Tsemberis, creator of Housing First, CEO of the Pathways Housing First Institute, and Clinical Associate Professor, UCLA Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences.
"A courageously heartfelt journey from profound self-destruction to redemption."—Kirkus
“Readers will be gripped.” –Publishers Weekly (Starred review)