Nobody Cries at Bingo

29 February 2012

Nobody Cries at Bingo
by Dawn Dumont
Published by Thistledown Press
Review by Leeann Minogue
$15.95 ISBN-978-1-897235-84-3

In Nobody Cries at Bingo Dawn Dumont shows us the ups and downs of life on a Saskatchewan reserve. I came to this book not knowing much about life on the Rez, hoping to learn. But after reading Dumont’s stories about a prairie girl who loves to read, I realized that I’d come to understand more about our similarities than our differences.

Nobody Cries at Bingo is a series of stories centering around Dawn, a girl growing up on the Okanese First Nation and going to school in Balcarres, Saskatchewan. She lives with her mother, several siblings, and a father who comes and goes.

This book is packed with interesting, well-plotted stories and realistic dialogue. Dumont is not afraid to tackle negative stereotypes head on (for example, “Bingo time was an understood rule in our family.”) But she’s also not afraid to show us that the problems faced by the kids on the Rez are the same dilemmas teenagers are coping with everywhere else: sibling rivalry, weight, boys, and just generally finding a place to fit in. The book includes characters who struggle with alcohol, unemployment, racism and poverty. But it is also filled with people who have close relationships to their extended families, a strong belief in community, and a great love of humor and adventure.

Dawn Dumont is primarily a stand-up comedian but also a playwright and television host. This is her first book, but I’m sure it won’t be her last. I’ll be watching for her next release.


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