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Ian Ferguson won the 2004 Leacock Medal for Humor for this outrageously funny book about growing up destitute in the far north Beginning with the dramatic events surrounding his birth the richly recalled events of Ferguson's life and a vivid cast of loveable misfits make fo. Author Ian Ferguson recalls his time as a child living in a remote community in Northern AlbertaThis one is a bit hard to review Ian has a disclaimer at the beginning of the book noting that this is a memoir of sorts in that most of it is true other than the parts that are not I suppose knowing ahead of time may make it easier when you discover what was real and what was changed but I was disappointed to find one of the emotional moments had been completely fabricated As someone who champions James Frey s Million Little Pieces and My Friend Leonard maybe I don t have a right to critiue these elements of Ferguson s book but I would be lying if I didn t feel a bit manipulated at the endThat isn t to say that you should skip this one not at all I enjoyed it for the most part It is a fairly uick and often entertaining read Although Ferguson won the Stephen Leacock best in Canadian Literary Humor in 2004 for this book there are some particularly heartbreaking moments involving Ferguson s father and friends Bud Peyen and Lloyd LoonskinHaving lived in Northern Alberta for a time although I would not consider Fort McMurray remote even if there is only one road out of town we did have a Walmart after all I enjoy reading about life in isolated parts of the country Village of the Small Houses is less tragic and humourous but it feels like an important read nonetheless if only to understand the complex relationship between indigenous and white Canadians

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Village of the Small Houses A Memoir of Sorts

R a taut and appealingly idiosyncratic tale In 1959 just one step ahead of the law Hank Ferguson the Ferguson brothers' con artist dad headed north in a beat up two toned 1953 Mercury Zephyr with his pregnant wife Louise He got as far as remote Fort Vermilion Passing himsel. A friend recommended this book to me and if they hadn t I doubt I would have ever known of its existence It is truly a hidden gem with a rare sort of storyteller style reminiscent of tales told round the campfire Ferguson s life experiences have been uite extraordinary and they definitely needed to be shared with a wider audience Growing up in such a uniue location as Fort Vermilion an extremely rural and isolated artic region of Canada Ferguson s memories of growing up in the 60 s are than a little atypical There are plenty of humorous reveries to keep the audience riveted but this book also hits upon a plaintive and moving snapshot of humanity In a community where native Canadians and white settlers have come together and yet often remain separated by invisible barriers Ferguson and his family cross those boundaries almost immediately after their arrival in Fort Vermilion Ferguson s style and perspective are uite obviously influenced by the cross cultural experiences of his youth The memoir s summation is anything but humorous and yet I was glad of its bare honesty I wish that Ferguson had written books that I could subseuently devour but he has left his audience wanting His brother Will Ferguson however has been very prolific and is best known for his book How to be a Canadian Even if You Already Are One I will one day give that one a read for sure

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F off as a teacher at the local Indian school he settled his ever expanding family in what was then Canada's third poorest community In this spirited reading originally broadcast on CBC Radio in September 2004 Ian Ferguson's gifts as a comic actor rise exuberantly to the fo. Stephen Leacock Award for Humour winner A funny charming memoir that reminded me of Angela s Ashes Ferguson brings a humorous slant to what really was a tough often grim childhood There is no self pity here I loved the connections his family had with the Native people in his community Every person mentioned in this book is a rich interesting uniue individual The author wastes no words he has a knack for letting the reader know all that they need in very few words Ferguson was honest about the strengths and failings of everyone in his past and especially his own failings as an adult A loving look back at a memorable childhood


10 thoughts on “Village of the Small Houses A Memoir of Sorts

  1. says:

    Author Ian Ferguson recalls his time as a child living in a remote community in Northern AlbertaThis one is a bit hard to review Ian has a disclaimer at the beginning of the book noting that this is a “memoir of sorts” in that

  2. says:

    This book is about a kid growing up in a small town in northern Alberta and about how his family doesn't really belong there especially the author He outgrows the town and sees it for what it really is and boy he can't wait to get out of there The book shows us the many splendors of the small aboriginal community such as the Tea Dance and the Town Meeting Make no mistake this book is fiction Bud Peyen was not a stupid c

  3. says:

    Village of the Small Houses is a memoir of sorts or sort of a memoir Take your pick I was born and raised in Fort Vermilion which i

  4. says:

    A friend recommended this book to me and if they hadn't I doubt I would have ever known of its existence It is tru

  5. says:

    Funny heartbreaking mystical—this book is all that before you get to the half way mark You will laugh your so

  6. says:

    Sad And cute But mostly sad A tragi comedy where even the funny parts make you a little unhappy And whenever I read these slightly fictionalizedembellished accounts of people's childhoods I always find myself wondering what they tweaked and w

  7. says:

    This memoir is like Glass Castle except it's from a male perspective the parents are not uite as whacked the dad leaves sooner it takes place in Northern Alberta primarily many of the characters are Native it has humour in it and it ends when the narrator is in high school If Glass Castle was too heavy for you try this one I think I'm partial to Village of the Small Houses because it's enjoyable reading ligh

  8. says:

    Wow Ian Ferguson compressed a lot of life into 200 pages He took us from before he was born until he was 30 and what a gruelling trip it was Dragged up to northern Alberta by his ne'er do well father and helpless mother he survived years of rough living in a bush town before getting away for good at age 15 He made a close friendship with a sad doomed young aboriginal boy and watched his town go through the struggles of developmen

  9. says:

    Stephen Leacock Award for Humour winner A funny charming memoir that reminded me of Angela's Ashes Ferguson brings a humorous slant to what really was a tough often grim childhood There is no self pity here I loved the connections his family had with the Native people in his community Every person mentioned in this book is a rich interesti

  10. says:

    I read this when it first came out bc my parents had bought it they had livedworked in Ft Vermilion for a few years fresh out of University moved there right after Ferguson moved away I enjoyed it as a good story at that time I re read it a couple years ago while I myself was living up north and loved it A lot of the issuesevents t