Preview: Monique Gray Smith – Tilly: A Story of Hope and Resilience

A recovered alcohol addict, author Monique Gray Smith gives back to communities like the ones that have helped her overcome her addiction by sharing some of the wisdom she’s learned from her journey to sobriety in her new book Tilly: A Story of Hope and Resilience.

Although Lakota on her father’s side and Cree on her mother’s, Tilly’s traditional upbringing comes mostly from her grandmother. But when Tilly’s grandmother unexpectedly passes away, their tight bond is broken, and Tilly, who’s had trouble fitting in at school, finds herself more afloat than ever.

One day, Tilly’s seventh grade classmate Abby invites Tilly home for lunch and offers her “something special” to drink. From that first taste on, the buzzy feeling of invincibility in a bottle becomes a way for Tilly to escape her social insecurities and grief over her grandmother. But after one night of dangerously heavy drinking, Tilly realizes she must relinquish herself from the death grip of her anaconda vice. Finding courage and pride within herself from her heritage, a stranger’s timely advice never seemed so sage: “Never question who you are or who your people are. It’s in your eyes. I know it’s in your heart.”

Although Smith details the sordid 20th century history of Canada’s First Peoples, including forced relocation, Tuberculosis hospitals and residential schools, Tilly is foremost a story of resilience, family, community and hope, a story sure to resonate with anyone who can relate to these more universal themes.

Smith works as a consultant and international motivational speaker whose talks stress “nurturing, loving and fostering the potential of each and every child … in an appropriate cultural context” as an essential way for communities to heal and move forward and for everyone to make a positive difference in the world.

You can pick up Tilly: A Story of Hope and Resilience at Amazon | Buy Local. Also, don’t miss your chance to meet Monique Gray Smith when she speaks at Vancouver’s Brain Development and Learning Conference from July 24-28. Gray will be at the Odin Books table at the Westin Bayshore Hotel (1601 Bayshore Drive) at the following times:

Thursday, July 25: 12:45 PM – 1:30 PM  and 4:00 PM – 4:30 PM
Friday, July 26: 11:00 AM – 11:30 AM

Leslie Ken Chu

Leslie Ken Chu