• Five Little Indians

  • A Novel
  • By: Michelle Good
  • Narrated by: Kyla Garcia
  • Length: 10 hrs and 34 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (131 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

WINNER: Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction

WINNER: Amazon First Novel Awards

Finalist: Scotiabank Giller Prize

Finalist: Atwood Gibson Writers Trust Prize

Finalist: BC & Yukon Book Prize

Shortlist: Indigenous Voices Awards

Finalist: Kobo Emerging Author Prize

National Best Seller; A Globe and Mail Top 100 Book of the Year; A CBC Best Book of the Year; An Apple Best Book of the Year; A Kobo Best Book of the Year; An Indigo Best Book of the Year

Taken from their families when they are very small and sent to a remote, church-run residential school, Kenny, Lucy, Clara, Howie and Maisie are barely out of childhood when they are finally released after years of detention.

Alone and without any skills, support or families, the teens find their way to the seedy and foreign world of Downtown Eastside Vancouver, where they cling together, striving to find a place of safety and belonging in a world that doesn’t want them. The paths of the five friends cross and crisscross over the decades as they struggle to overcome, or at least forget, the trauma they endured during their years at the Mission.

Fuelled by rage and furious with God, Clara finds her way into the dangerous, highly charged world of the American Indian Movement. Maisie internalizes her pain and continually places herself in dangerous situations. Famous for his daring escapes from the school, Kenny can’t stop running and moves restlessly from job to job—through fishing grounds, orchards and logging camps—trying to outrun his memories and his addiction. Lucy finds peace in motherhood and nurtures a secret compulsive disorder as she waits for Kenny to return to the life they once hoped to share together. After almost beating one of his tormentors to death, Howie serves time in prison, then tries once again to re-enter society and begin life anew.

With compassion and insight, Five Little Indians chronicles the desperate quest of these residential school survivors to come to terms with their past and, ultimately, find a way forward. 

©2020 Michelle Good (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers

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What listeners say about Five Little Indians

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Read it yourself.

The story is powerful but the performance gets in the way and makes it hard to get lost in it. It’s a barrier to feeling the emotions that the author evokes

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Great Story; Horrible Narrator

This is an important story that deserves a better narrator. I had to switch to Kindle after the first chapter because the voice sounded like disconnected AI. The repetitive cadence suggests the narrator had no idea what was being said.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Real Experiences, Poorly Narrated

Residential Indian Boarding Schools in Canada and the US stole children, their futures, their families, their communities. The impacts reverberate today. The book tells the story of 5 such individuals, residential school survivors, and how they cope following their experiences in an honest and compassionate way.

The narration here, though, is poor. The reader fails to capture the spirits and nature of the characters. A Canadian/First Nations narrator would have added credibility. An E for Effort for the Boriquen narrator but it missed the mark for me.

As another reviewer wrote, read the book yourself. Use your voice to give the characters voice. It’ll make a better story.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A powerful story

A powerful story, more fact than fiction, to those who endured abuse and the misuse of power. Survival does not erase pain nor can a wounded heart be healed by reparation, until the abuse is exposed and acknowledged.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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So badly narrated.

I’m wondering who chooses the actors and directs them? This is the second book that I’m listening to that is so badly narrated. It feels like the narrator has no connection to the content of the book, neither the ability to give it emphasis and warmth. It’s read in a very sterile way with a repetitive language melody.
I was really interested in the book, but had to stop after the first couple of chapters, because it just doesn’t do it justice.
Very sad.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Worth the tears

This book was painful at times. But worth the struggle to know this important story.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • T
  • 08-23-22

Terrible narration. Rest of book okay.

The narrator sounds like a pr person for an oil company. The book feels like her first attempt at a book, and should have spent more time working on the story. The actual history is very important to know, but this isn’t a good way to learn it.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Worst narrator EVER!

I know the book is fabulous, but I’m just going to have to read it. I could not get past the horrible narrating. Her inflections grated on me; so frustrating.

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  • S
  • 06-20-22

An Important Read for our Time!

Michelle Good captures the lives of five survivors of the Canadian Residential School system. (notice they don't talk about "graduates" of the schools?) The life-long devastation of the period of their respective incaraceration is clear and understandable. The narrator is able to assume different voices that represent each character in a respectful and apparently accurate manner.

In addition to being an important issue to read to become more familiar with the diffiuclty that many survivors have experienced, Michelle is an excellent word-smith and story teller.

I can't recommend it highly enough!

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A must read.

Loved it. Flows well gets its message across.
The narrations fits well with the prose.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 07-16-22

heartbreaking and honest

a story that only scratches the surface of what thousands of innocent children and their families endured at the hands of the church and government. I enjoyed the journey with each character as sad as some may be.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Dixie67
  • 10-17-21

A worthy subject left underexposed

Surface level character exploration ad nauseum leaving the subject matter virtually untreated but maybe that's my social sciences background talking because many readers loved it

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Admac
  • 10-08-21

Emotional and gripping

Emotional storytelling, really got caught up with the characters lives. Very easy to listen to (sometimes seemed incredibly simple but the writing is exact) but my main issue was with the narrator - I couldn't distinguish between the different voices, especially at times when there was more than one character in a scene.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for WJ
  • WJ
  • 08-16-21

Heartbreak and Hope

Heartbreak [and anger] about so much abuse of children simply stolen from their families. And the lifelong trauma they carry into their adult lives. But also hope as they find friendship and build their adult lives.

Historic fiction - fictional characters, true history of First Nation children stolen from their families to be 'educated' [and abused] in state schools, to drill western mindsets,[and trauma].

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