Wow, do I ever live in a Canadian bubble, well just a bubble in general. I am just now reaching out of that bubble to learn more about the world around me by reading more non-fiction. Well, Canadian Haudenosaunee writer Alicia Elliott has opened my eyes to a few subject matters with her powerful, thoughtful, honest and moving collection of essays.
A Mind Spread Out on the Ground is my first experience reading a collection of essays from an author, and I had no idea how much I would find essays as interesting, insightful and enjoyable as I did theses. Alicia Elliott covers a bit of ground here with the subject matter she explores. I usually would find that a bit overwhelming, but I enjoyed the format with a single subject matter per essay. I took my time reading and stopped to think about each essay and take notes along the way. I thought Alicia Elliott gave her personal opinion and argument well with thoughtful insight, depth, wit and heart. Her brilliant use of metaphors adds some understanding and depth to her thoughts on the subject matters. She draws on her own experiences as she explores colonialism, racism, mental health, abuse, sexual assault, poverty, malnutrition, capitalism parenthood and writing. There is a recurring theme of colonialism throughout it that is brilliantly weaved in through them. The essays flowed smoothly and connected well into each one.
Alicia Elliott’s voice is gentle, informative and understanding with her frustration and anger. Her words are deeply moving, and it was easy to pick up on the mood of each essay and her attitude towards each subject matter. She is boldly honest with her truths and her insight about each subject and she gave me a bit to think about with each essay. She shares a part of herself with us while sharing her thoughts on each subject matter. Her writing is inviting to form our own thoughts, and she invites us to challenge our assumptions. At times I did want to argue with her in my head with some of my assumptions; however, I reminded myself these are her experiences, her opinions, thoughts and arguments, not mine. So I silenced that noise in my head and listened to what she had to say. I am so glad I did. I highly recommend it.
I received a copy from the publisher on NetGalley!