Dream Wheels

Dream Wheels

A Novel

Book - 2006
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From the acclaimed author of Keeper'n Me and For Joshua, Dream Wheels is a vital and unsparing novel from one of the most fascinating voices in Canadian writing. Joe Willie Wolfchild is on the verge of becoming a World Champion rodeo cowboy when a legendary bull cripples him. At the same time, in the same city, Claire Hartley is brutally assaulted and her 14-year-old son, Aiden, is critically injured during a burglary. The young Ojibway-Sioux man, the black single mother and her mulatto son find their lives irrevocably changed. Joe Willie, a rodeo cowboy since he was a child, smolders in angry silence over a deformed left arm and a limp that make it impossible for him to compete. Claire, a victim of numerous bad relationships, withdraws from men and swears a bitter celibacy. Aiden gains notoriety among his criminal peers and slips into a self-destructive spiral of drugs and violence. Eager to find a place for her son to channel his explosive energies, Claire brings Aiden to a rodeo camp run by the Wolfchild family, where he is drawn to bull riding and proves to be a stunning natural. But Joe Willie refuses to have anything to do with the camp, remaining an aloof, mysterious presence to Claire and the boy. Birch Wolfchild, Joe Willie's father, sees the potential for Aiden to become a champion and for his son to heal himself, if they can move beyond anger to forge a partnership. Claire's and Joe Willie's wounds bring them together in a surprising romance, and beneath it all is Birch Wolfchild's tale of thechanging of the life of the Indian cowboy. Dream Wheels is a story about change. Moving from the Wild West Shows of the late 1880s to the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas to a lush valley in the mountains, it tells the story of a people's journey, a family's vision, a man's reawakening, a woman's recovery, and a boy's emergence to manhood.
Publisher: [Toronto] : Doubleday Canada, c2006
ISBN: 9780385661997
Branch Call Number: WAG
Characteristics: 398 p


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Sep 05, 2017

Powerful writing. It is as though the writer is in the head of each character. His characters have soul with energy that leaps through the pages. Definitely a must read. Unfortunately the author died at age 61, far too early for such a brilliant writer.

Jun 01, 2016

This was on the "new" shelf at my library so was surprised to find out that it was first published in 2006. Beautiful story, beautifully written. Draws you into the heart of the cowboy, the heart of being Native American, the heart of a strong family. I have only been to one rodeo and I found it to be so violent I've never been to another. So I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book. The descriptions of the bull riding brings a majestic, athletic artistry to it. It's described from both the rider and the bull's point of view. Mostly this is a story of Joe Willie's healing of his body and mind, and Aiden's discovery of what path he wants to walk in life. Great characters, good symbolism, scenic setting - really liked this book.

May 30, 2013

It took awhile to get into the book, but I did enjoy it.

melwyk May 01, 2012

This book is set in Western Canada -- it is deliberately vague in setting, it could be a ranch in Alberta or in Montana, there are no specific towns or locations to tie it to. Despite that, it has a strong sense of place. The landscape, the work they do, the trails they ride and mountains that surround them are everpresent.

The story focuses on Joe Willie Wolfchild, a rodeo bull rider and as they say, a true Indian Cowboy. There are many topics that interweave in this novel: Native identity, family, belonging, purpose.

Overall I was glad I picked it up. It was different from anything I've read lately, and gave me another way of seeing life. There were some issues I had with it, specifically the beatific presentation of the women in it, at least the women in the Wolfchild family. And I did find the characters to nearly all speak in the same way, making it a bit difficult to ascertain who was speaking at times.

But it did inspire me to seek out Richard Wagamese's blog, A Writer's World, which is full of beautifully written thoughts on his life.

Cdnbookworm Apr 18, 2011

This story deals with the growth and maturing of more than one character. There are many themes present here and it would be a good choice for a book club.
Joe Willie Wolfchild is about to become a World Champion rodeo cowboy when he is severely injured by a bull he is riding. As he comes to terms with the way his life has changed as a result of the injury, he is supported by his close family.
Claire Hartley and her son Aiden have lived a nomadic life as Claire has moved from one unsuitable man to another. After Aiden is arrested as a result of a botched robbery, an Edmonton policeman helps them find a new beginning, but they both must still face their past and choose their futures for themselves.

Sep 25, 2010

Not read

MadMatter Aug 12, 2009

If you want literary exposure to Bull Riding, this is your book.

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