At the age of seventeen, an Anishinabe boy who was raised in the south joined a James Bay Cree family in a one-room hunting cabin in the isolated wilderness of northern Quebec. Reflecting on his search for his own personal identity, that kid – Duncan McCue – takes us on an evocative exploration of the teenage years and the culture shock he experienced moving to the unfamiliar North. The result is a contemplative, honest, and unexpected coming-of-age memoir set in the context of the Cree struggle to protect their way of life, after massive hydro-electric projects forever altered the landscape they know as Eeyou Istchee.
About the author
Duncan McCue is an award-winning CBC journalist and the host of CBC Radio’s Cross Country Checkup. He teaches journalism at the UBC Graduate School of Journalism and Ryerson University, and was awarded a Knight Fellowship at Stanford University. His numerous honours include an Innovation Award from the Canadian Ethnic Media Association, for developing curriculum on Indigenous issues. McCue is Anishinaabe, from the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation in Ontario, and the proud father of two children. He lives in Toronto.
The Shoe Boy is a valuable read and will enrich anyone who tunes in to CBC Radio One on Sunday afternoons, as McCue establishes his voice in the conversation of Canada.
Globe and Mail
If you’re like me, you’ll have watched Duncan McCue’s journalism on the CBC for a number of years now, admiring his skill and diligence as a reporter. If you read his new book, his first, you’ll no doubt admire him a little bit more.
[Duncan McCue’s] voice is familiar as it is fresh.
Frank, funny and evocative, The Shoe Boy deftly entwines the challenges of identity for First Nations youth, the sexual frustration and hopeful confusion of the teenage years, and the realities of living in an enduring state of culture shock.
McCue’s book, succinctly but beautifully written, takes the reader right to the people and places described, and leaves one wishing for more.
Announcement of Edna Staebler Nonfiction Award Shortlist
It’s a thoroughly enjoyable, nicely balanced and ideal summer read (or winter read really, as it takes place in the cold).