Stolen Life: The Journey of a Cree Woman

by Rudy Wiebe, Yvonne Johnson

Knopf Canada | July 31, 2012 | Kobo Edition (eBook)

Stolen Life: The Journey of a Cree Woman is rated 4.625 out of 5 by 8.
"Written with primal intensity, touched with redeeming compassion, Rudy Wiebe--has explored our history, our roots and the secrets of our hearts with moral seriousness and great feeling." - Governor General's Award for Fiction Citation, l994

A powerful, major work of non-fiction, beautifully written, with the impact of Mikal Gilmore's Shot in the Heart, from the twice winner of the Governor General's Award for Fiction and the great-great-granddaughter of Big Bear.

This is a story about justice, and terrible injustices, a story about a murder, and a courtroom drama as compelling as any thriller as it unravels the events that put Yvonne Johnson behind bars for life, first in Kingston's Federal Prison for Women until the riot that closed it, and presently in the Okimaw Ochi Healing Lodge in the Cypress Hills. But above all it is the unforgettable true story of the life of a Native woman who has decided to speak out and break the silence, written with the redeeming compassion that marks all Rudy Wiebe's writing, and informed throughout by Yvonne Johnson's own intelligence and poetic eloquence.

Characters and events spring to life with the vividness of fiction. The story is told sometimes in the first person by Rudy Wiebe, sometimes by Yvonne herself. He tracks down the details of Yvonne's early life in Butte, Montana, as a child with a double-cleft palate, unable to speak until the kindness of one man provided the necessary operations; the murder of her beloved brother while in police custody; her life of sexual abuse at the hands of another brother, grandfather and others; her escape to Canada - to Winnipeg and Wetaskiwin; the traumas of her life that led to alcoholism, and her slow descent into hell despite the love she found with her husband and three children.

He reveals how she participated, with three others, in the murder of the man she believed to be a child abuser; he unravels the police story, taking us step by step, with jail-taped transcripts, through the police attempts to set one member of the group against the others in their search for a conviction - and the courtroom drama that followed. And Yvonne openly examines her life and, through her grandmother, comes to understand the legacy she has inherited from her ancestor Big Bear; having been led through pain to wisdom, she brings us with her to the point where she finds spiritual strength in passing on the lessons and understandings of her life.

How the great-great-granddaughter of Big Bear reached out to the author of The Temptations of Big Bear to help her tell her story is itself an extraordinary tale. The co-authorship between one of Canada's foremost writers and the only Native woman in Canada serving life imprisonment for murder has produced a deeply moving, raw and honest book that speaks to all of us, and gives us new insight into the society we live in, while offering a deeply moving affirmation of spiritual healing.


From the Hardcover edition.

Format: Kobo Edition (eBook)

Published: July 31, 2012

Publisher: Knopf Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0307367134

ISBN - 13: 9780307367136

Found in: Social Science

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Life almost wasted I read this book for my Toastmaster Book Club. I have always said that everyone has a story. To take this further, some people want to tell ther story, some don't. Some people know how to tell a story, others don't know how to tell a story. Yvonne Johnson was a person that had a story to tell, she just didn't how to tell it. She made a decision in contacting Rudy Wiebe to help her write her story. Rudy Wiebe is an accomplished and award winning author. She made a great decision. Yvonne was woman born of a Cree woman and a white man. She condidered herself Cree. She spent more time with her Cree relations than her white relations. She also had a violent and abusive upbringing. Then, just when it appeared that her life was starting to go good, she was sentenced to 25 years in prison for her part in a murder. It was during this time in prison that she contacted Wiebe to write the book. In reading this book, you can tell where the story is written more by Yvonne than Rudy. Her writing is all over the place. She talks about something at one point in her life, then jump to an earlier point. This can be confusing. Rudy did an excellent job of trying to organize here writing into a followable sequence. Yvonne tells a little of the actual murder. Much of the story comes from the other people that were involved. If you want to read about the underside of first nation life in Canada, I recommend this book. This book can be intense at time. Some members of my book club were un able to read portions of the story. Actually, everyone should read this book.
Date published: 2013-08-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Stolen life This book is a triumphant tale of wowe that is both heart wrenching and inspiring. Told by a decendant of Big Bear it tells the tale of a hard life and a fight for the discovery of ones spirituality.Through the years and unmarked memories and factual evidence we too can make our own journey alongside "Vonnie" and maybe even discover a bit of our own spirit.
Date published: 2000-10-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from new things learned every day At the beginning of this book I found myself falling asleep. I was required to read this book for my gender and criminal justice class and did not enjoy it at first. I enjoy reading, so I forced myself to continue reading and found myself wanting to read on and find out the story of Yvonne. I find her story both inspiring and heartbreaking, Her extensive severity of abuse is something that no person should ever experience so her strength is rewarding to those of us who sympathize with the characters of the books we read. I wish to recommend this book for anyone who wishes to see the other side of the justice system, those who seem to be destined for a disadvantaged life, Yvonne's story will encourage you to see the good things in life and to enjoy them while you can. I hope her children are in good health and will see her soon.
Date published: 2000-10-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A stolen life If you have ever doubted Canada's justice system this book will prove you are right.It seems if you can't afford a good lawyer you don't stand a chance.This is a story about a woman who has overcome many obstacles in her live.For example;born with a disability to a mother who grew up in a residential school;having a white father and alcoholism.Yuonne is the mother of three children who are the center of her live as is her spirituality.Protecting them from the falling victim to the same grim events of her live got her a Twenty-five year sentence.This book is real,harrowing in parts, but still difficult to put down till the end
Date published: 2000-07-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from An incredible tale of endurance My book club read this book last month. It was not a book I would have picked up on my own. I am very glad I read it. At first I wanted to reach in and pull Yvonne out of her terrible life. But then as I got to know her I began to understand the web she was tangled in. Her family, her culture, her life experience all added up to an inability to get out of it. Yet she tried and she endured. I would recommend this book. Not an easy read, but certainly an educational one.
Date published: 2000-04-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beyond Recovery ? Anyone, who thinks that life has given them a bad deal, should read Medicine Bear Womans account of a recovery beyond comprehension. An in-depth demonstration of what our spirit can overcome. Everyone has it, and Medicine Bear Women shows how it may be found. If you are in recovery from any of lifes difficulties, you owe it to yourself, to read this book. If you think you cannot overcome and recover, compare your ordeals with Yvonne's, and your life's troubles will seem so much less significant. I recommend this book for anyone in a 12 Step Recovery program, or those who think they should be.
Date published: 1999-11-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Stolen Life: Journey of a Cree Woman This book was excellent. It really helps you see what it is like to grow up being abused. I couldn't put it down. I would suggest it for anyonewho is trying to understand abuse. It also has a really good story behind it. Five Stars for me!!!
Date published: 1999-10-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Stolen Life There are no words in the English language that can adequately express the impact Stolen Life leaves on those who read the book. Through Wiebe, Yvonne Johnson, a young Cree woman, tells of the abuse she endured as a young child and relates the events leading to her arrest for murder, incarceration at Kingston's Prison for Women and eventual transfer to a Native Healing Center in Cyprus Hills, Saskatchewan. Stolen Life is a testimony to the strength of the human spirit in the face of overwhelming hardship. Difficult to read, impossible to put down.
Date published: 1999-02-09

– More About This Product –

Stolen Life: The Journey of a Cree Woman

by Rudy Wiebe, Yvonne Johnson

Format: Kobo Edition (eBook)

Published: July 31, 2012

Publisher: Knopf Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0307367134

ISBN - 13: 9780307367136

From the Publisher

"Written with primal intensity, touched with redeeming compassion, Rudy Wiebe--has explored our history, our roots and the secrets of our hearts with moral seriousness and great feeling." - Governor General's Award for Fiction Citation, l994

A powerful, major work of non-fiction, beautifully written, with the impact of Mikal Gilmore's Shot in the Heart, from the twice winner of the Governor General's Award for Fiction and the great-great-granddaughter of Big Bear.

This is a story about justice, and terrible injustices, a story about a murder, and a courtroom drama as compelling as any thriller as it unravels the events that put Yvonne Johnson behind bars for life, first in Kingston's Federal Prison for Women until the riot that closed it, and presently in the Okimaw Ochi Healing Lodge in the Cypress Hills. But above all it is the unforgettable true story of the life of a Native woman who has decided to speak out and break the silence, written with the redeeming compassion that marks all Rudy Wiebe's writing, and informed throughout by Yvonne Johnson's own intelligence and poetic eloquence.

Characters and events spring to life with the vividness of fiction. The story is told sometimes in the first person by Rudy Wiebe, sometimes by Yvonne herself. He tracks down the details of Yvonne's early life in Butte, Montana, as a child with a double-cleft palate, unable to speak until the kindness of one man provided the necessary operations; the murder of her beloved brother while in police custody; her life of sexual abuse at the hands of another brother, grandfather and others; her escape to Canada - to Winnipeg and Wetaskiwin; the traumas of her life that led to alcoholism, and her slow descent into hell despite the love she found with her husband and three children.

He reveals how she participated, with three others, in the murder of the man she believed to be a child abuser; he unravels the police story, taking us step by step, with jail-taped transcripts, through the police attempts to set one member of the group against the others in their search for a conviction - and the courtroom drama that followed. And Yvonne openly examines her life and, through her grandmother, comes to understand the legacy she has inherited from her ancestor Big Bear; having been led through pain to wisdom, she brings us with her to the point where she finds spiritual strength in passing on the lessons and understandings of her life.

How the great-great-granddaughter of Big Bear reached out to the author of The Temptations of Big Bear to help her tell her story is itself an extraordinary tale. The co-authorship between one of Canada's foremost writers and the only Native woman in Canada serving life imprisonment for murder has produced a deeply moving, raw and honest book that speaks to all of us, and gives us new insight into the society we live in, while offering a deeply moving affirmation of spiritual healing.


From the Hardcover edition.
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