I finished reading The Reason You Walk last night. It’s a wonderful, touching book about Wab Kinew and his relationship with his father. I received it as a Christmas gift from my friend Jasmine.
The book is very much a memoir, in that it follows the life of Wab’s father and then Wab as well, ending in the inevitable changes that happen when one of our parents pass away. But if you’re looking for a typically written book, you won’t find it here. The writing style is very different, something I noticed almost immediately. You could almost say it is written in the style it would be spoken, because the pace of the writing very much comes off like oral tradition. There aren’t as many subtle segues and there are large jumps in time, but it doesn’t come across as detrimental. You can almost hear Wab himself talking to you.
I learned a lot the Kinew men by reading this book. And why was I interested? Well I’ve been following Wab Kinew for several years on social media, where I knew him as a CBC personality and somewhat of a spokesperson on Aboriginal issues. These issues are important to me, because I am Aboriginal myself, and also Ojibwe like the family in the book.
So when the first chapter opened with a Sundance I was very, very confused. Ojibwe people don’t perform the Sundance, so what the heck was going on? Thankfully this connection goes on to be thoroughly explained and explored within the story itself and ends up being an important ceremony for the family.
The book is about many things, a father and son story, about maintaining your cultural heritage, about life and death. But mostly it is about love and passion and motivation, and those are all the reason you walk.