The Lesser Blessed

The Lesser Blessed

Book - 1996
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A fresh, funny look at growing up Native in the North, by award-winning author Richard Van Camp.

Larry is a Dogrib Indian growing up in the small northern town of Fort Simmer. His tongue, his hallucinations and his fantasies are hotter than the sun. At sixteen, he loves Iron Maiden, the North and Juliet Hope, the high school "tramp." When Johnny Beck, a Metis from Hay River, moves to town, Larry is ready for almost anything.
In this powerful and often very funny first novel, Richard Van Camp gives us one of the most original teenage characters in fiction. Skinny as spaghetti, nervy and self-deprecating, Larry is an appealing mixture of bravado and vulnerability. His past holds many terrors: an abusive father, blackouts from sniffing gasoline, an accident that killed several of his cousins. But through his friendship with Johnny, he's ready now to face his memories--and his future.

Marking the debut of an exciting new writer, The Lesser Blessed is an eye-opening depiction of what it is to be a young Native man in the age of AIDS, disillusionment with Catholicism and a growing world consciousness.
A coming-of-age story that any fan of The Catcher in the Rye will enjoy.
Publisher: Vancouver : Douglas & McIntyre, 1996.
ISBN: 9781550545258
Branch Call Number: VAN
Characteristics: 119 p.


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Aug 06, 2013

Its a good book. While I can't say that I like the ending, it does show the realistic side of things, as well as teaching me some important lessons. A must-read.

Tyler J Lines
May 30, 2012

If I pick up another copy of this book again will you sign it again for me Richard? Can't wait to see the movie! I think that I will actually read this book again before I go see the movie.

Oct 12, 2011

this makes a total of 3 books I will not finish reading.

I do admit that the writing style is very sophisticated and entertaining.

quagga Nov 21, 2009

It is rare for me to read a book more than once, no matter how much I like it, because there are so many other great books calling out to me. When I do re-read, however, it feels like a treat. Especially when it is a fabulous book like The Lesser Blessed.

It's a skinny little book (119 pages) about a skinny teenager named Larry Sole. Much like Larry, who hides big secrets inside his burn-scarred body, the story contains mysteries. Larry's humorous first person voice is part of what makes this book memorable. Escaping a tragic past, Larry and his mother have recently moved to Fort Simmer (a thinly-disguised Fort Smith) in the NWT. They are of the Tlicho (Dogrib) Nation. Larry is a virgin and he is obsessed with sex. He has a particular fascination with doing it doggie style. He also has the hots for Juliet Hope: "I adored her seven dreams deep." But Juliet is Johnny Beck's girlfriend. And Johnny is Larry's best friend. Or is he? Larry's entry into adulthood takes place amid violence and substance abuse.


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Larry Sole is a member of the Tlicho (Dogrib) Nation in the Northwest Territories. He's in high school. He's skinny. He listens to rock music. He's in love.

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