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Publisher's Summary

  • Winner, Kobo Emerging Writer Prize Nonfiction
  • Winner, Indigenous Voices Awards
  • Winner, High Plains Book Awards
  • Finalist, CBC Canada Reads
  • A Globe and Mail Book of the Year
  • An Indigo Book of the Year
  • A CBC Best Canadian Nonfiction Book of the Year  

In this extraordinary and inspiring debut memoir, Jesse Thistle, once a high-school dropout and now a rising Indigenous scholar, chronicles his life on the streets and how he overcame trauma and addiction to discover the truth about who he is.

If I can just make it to the next minute...then I might have a chance to live; I might have a chance to be something more than just a struggling crackhead.

From the Ashes is a remarkable memoir about hope and resilience and a revelatory look into the life of a Métis Cree man who refused to give up.

Abandoned by his parents as a toddler, Jesse Thistle briefly found himself in the foster-care system with his two brothers, cut off from all they had known. Eventually, the children landed in the home of their paternal grandparents, whose tough-love attitudes quickly resulted in conflicts. Throughout it all, the ghost of Jesse’s drug-addicted father haunted the halls of the house and the memories of every family member. Struggling with all that had happened, Jesse succumbed to a self-destructive cycle of drug and alcohol addiction and petty crime, spending more than a decade on and off the streets, often homeless. Finally, he realized he would die unless he turned his life around.

In this heart-warming and heart-wrenching memoir, Jesse Thistle writes honestly and fearlessly about his painful past, the abuse he endured, and how he uncovered the truth about his parents. Through sheer perseverance and education - and newfound love - he found his way back into the circle of his Indigenous culture and family.

An eloquent exploration of the impact of prejudice and racism, From the Ashes is, in the end, about how love and support can help us find happiness despite the odds.

©2019 Jesse Thistle (P)2019 Simon & Schuster Audio

What listeners say about From the Ashes

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Fantastic

You really feel for Jesse as you follow his journey. I loved the fact that he read it out himself. You can hear the emotion throughout the whole thing. The way this was written was very real.

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Eye-opening and riveting

A must-read for anybody who thinks they’ve been stuck with a hopeless lot in life — From the Ashes is equal parts heartbreaking and inspiring, a harrowing journey from start to finish that’s impossible to put down. Jesse’s life is one we all can learn something from,

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Real, Raw and so encouraging

I saw Jesse speak on Dr Jody Carrington I was so moved by him that I downloaded his book that night. An author that narrates his own work , in a real, raw, truthful way. This book is an inspiration for anyone to rise above any and all situations.
Be proud of yourself Jesse and I know your grandparents are so so proud of what you have overcome and the man that you are today

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Incredible story

This memoir should be on every Canadian’s must-read list. It charts an individual and his family’s perseverance through the long lasting effects of colonization in Canada and the trauma it caused for Indigenous communities. There is a lot of action in this memoir, but also poetry. I really enjoyed hearing the book read in the voice of the author.

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life inspiring

A beautifully vulnerable story that touched my soul. Will leave me deep in thought and self reflection for a long time.

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thank you Jesse!

my experience listening to you read your own story was truly moving. I can recall being in many of the same places, yet being in a very different space.

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needs to be made into a movie.

thank you for sharing your story. sorry for your loss of your father and grandmother.

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Excellent

The narration took some getting used to at first and then once I got into it, it made the story so much more authentic. I laughed, I cried, and I enjoyed this story so much!

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Amazing story

Amazing story that will tug at your heart strings and hopefully let others see homeless struggling people as individuals that are searching for peace. Thank you Jessie

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  • rob
  • 2021-01-15

wow

So amazing! A story that is both inspirational and heartbreaking. It touches every part of your soul.

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  • herardo_olibarria
  • 2020-11-13

Poverty, addiction, oppression and overcoming it!

This was an amazing gritty story straight from the streets. Jesse's narratiom brings to life the horrors he endured both at the hands of monsters in human clothes and self-inflicted. Jesse's struggles and his success engross the listener. You will be shocked and will laugh and cry. Through it all Jesse never gives up and neither should any of Us!

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  • Charlotte R.
  • 2020-10-02

an important read

Jesse and his story is bound to be a national treasure. It is raw, sincere, innocent, transparent...through his rock bottom downs to his Everest climbs, Jesse Thistle conveys the tragedy of addiction and the rebirth of a life through never ending efforts to heal. He never forgets that his success depended on others loving , supporting and believing in his human strength and goodness.

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  • IKW
  • 2020-09-05

A beautiful and touching memoir-Finding your way home

Jesse Thistle’s life story is touching, heartwarming, reaffirming, and real. From the Ashes recounts his life in great detail and left me wondering how some people are able to turn their lives around because they have a larger purpose in life to fulfill. Jesse’s voice and story will resonate within me for a long time.

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  • Aedificator
  • 2020-06-19

Raw

The honesty can be difficult to hear but it's worth the trip. I finished spent with my tears dried on my cheeks and full of joy.

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  • Teresa MyersAlien Friend?
  • 2020-05-08

The Truths I have Heard

The truths I have heard from other homeless and mixed race people presented here as it is and feels, with courage. If you dare to know here is your teacher. Please dare.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2020-03-11

This should be mandatory reading for all adult Canadians.

This should be mandatory reading for all adult Canadians. This is an excellent story. Bravo Mr Thistle.

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  • Deborah Flemming
  • 2020-02-03

So moving

A very powerful memoir! How did you survive? How did you thrive? I cried and cheered and cried some more!