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Hawk by Jennifer Dancer
Book Review by Emily Beam, Grade 9
Book rating: /5
This book has an important message but I found it a bit slow moving and very
depressing. I learned a lot about the high rates of cancer amongst Indigeneous people
near oil sands and how horrible they were treated. No one seemed to care that their
water and food sources were contaminated. Instead of fixing the problem, the oil
companies bribed them with jobs and unnecessary items.
The main character is Hawk. He doesn't have a close relationship with his mom or dad.
They get closer as he battles leukemia and they go through that journey together. Part
of the reason Hawk's father is so distant is because his mom (Hawk's grandmother)
went to a residential school and her trauma made her unable to show her son the love
she felt for him. Her son was then unable to show his feelings for his son. The book
shows how trauma can affect generations.
Throughout the book the main character Hawk's situation is parallel to the animals that
are also being affected by the pollution of the oil sands. In particular an osprey family.
The osprey family's story is very sad.
The best part of the book is Hawk's relationship with his grandfather. His grandfather
seems to understand him and helps him understand himself, his family, and his culture.
I didn't really like Hawk at the beginning of the book. I felt sorry for him because he had
leukemia, but he wasn't a very likeable person. He seemed very selfish and immature.
By the end of the book, however, he is a very different person. He has a worthwhile
cause and is kinder to everyone around him. He no longer only thinks about himself.
This book is good to read right now, with the information coming out about residential
schools and the Indigeneous children that died there. This book describes the hardships
of some Indigeneous people very well and is very eye-opening. I just found it very heavy
and too sad at times.


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