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Reviews of Red Paint by Sasha LaPointe

Red Paint

The Ancestral Autobiography of a Coast Salish Punk

by Sasha taqʷšəblu LaPointe

Red Paint by Sasha taqʷšəblu LaPointe X
Red Paint by Sasha taqʷšəblu LaPointe
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Mar 2022, 208 pages

    Paperback:
    Mar 2023, 240 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Elisabeth Cook
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About this Book

Book Summary

An Indigenous artist blends the aesthetics of punk rock with the traditional spiritual practices of the women in her lineage in this bold, contemporary journey to reclaim her heritage and unleash her power and voice while searching for a permanent home.

Sasha taqʷšəblu LaPointe has always longed for a sense of home. When she was a child, her family moved around frequently, often staying in barely habitable church attics and trailers, dangerous places for young Sasha.

With little more to guide her than a passion for the thriving punk scene of the Pacific Northwest and a desire to live up to the responsibility of being the namesake of her beloved great-grandmother—a linguist who helped preserve her Indigenous language of Lushootseed—Sasha throws herself headlong into the world, determined to build a better future for herself and her people.

Set against a backdrop of the breathtaking beauty of Coast Salish ancestral land and imbued with the universal spirit of punk, Red Paint is ultimately a story of the ways we learn to find our true selves while fighting for our right to claim a place of our own.

Examining what it means to be vulnerable in love and in art, Sasha offers up an unblinking reckoning with personal traumas amplified by the collective historical traumas of colonialism and genocide that continue to haunt native peoples. Red Paint is an intersectional autobiography of lineage, resilience, and, above all, the ability to heal.

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Through a nomadic and place-sensitive gaze on the Pacific Northwest, LaPointe presents a separation between land and state that throws into sharp relief the strangeness of settler-colonial fictions and values. The subjects she combines do not fit together simply because she blends them well (although she does) but rather because, as she shows us, trauma does not exist in a vacuum — or in any one place. Neither, necessarily, does the concept of home. Through the fluidity of her writing, LaPointe honors the movement and exploration crucial for healing...continued

Full Review (732 words)

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(Reviewed by Elisabeth Cook).

Media Reviews

Shelf Awareness (starred review)
In Red Paint: The Ancestral Autobiography of a Coast Salish Punk, Sasha taqʷšəblu LaPointe delivers a cutting, artful thrashing of settler colonialism and a sensitive exploration of ways of healing and forging space for community and connection through storytelling...LaPointe's intimate prose is introspective, raging and funny...[She] explores her experiences and familial legacies in a wash of rage, beauty, love and reclamation of strength via storytelling.

BookPage
Red Paint offers a poetic narrative of trauma and healing through ancestral rites and punk rock, both of which prove to be potent medicine during LaPointe's excavation of family legacy and matrilineal power...LaPointe's quest to wear the red paint of her ancestors in the context of her own life as a poet and performer integrates the twin strands, past and present, of this stunning memoir. For LaPointe, restoring the self to health is entwined with restoring Native women's voices that have been erased throughout history. She uses her own luminescent voice to tell their stories, wielding language, words, ritual and community as tools of contemporary and ancestral healing.

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
A punk-infused memoir by a Coast Salish woman about her connection to her heritage...Although the author does not shy away from heartache and sorrow, readers are welcomed on what is ultimately a healing journey that will stick in their memories. An engaging, poetic, educative examination of the search for home and personal and cultural identity.

Publishers Weekly
LaPointe, a Coast Salish poet and artist, sifts through her family's lineage to reckon with the meaning of home in this stirring debut. A descendant of the Nooksack and Upper Skagit Indian tribe in Washington State, LaPointe writes in lucid vignettes that alternate between past and present as she reflects on her ancestors...LaPointe's fresh and urgent perspective on Indigenous culture is enthralling.

Author Blurb Elissa Washuta, author of White Magic
Red Paint is a miraculous book. Sasha LaPointe walks us through the sites of her evisceration while rebuilding a home within her body using sturdy materials: rose quartz, cedar bark, red clay, and the words of her ancestors. With each potent sentence, she shows us what access to power looks like. She shows us how to become whole.

Author Blurb Melissa Febos, author of Girlhood
Red Paint is an ode to healing and to healers, told by someone who intimately knows both. Steeped in punk music and poetry, it is an ode to indigenous inheritance, and to the work and wisdom necessary to recover from the legacies of trauma. It is the truest kind of love story: one in which every lover is a MacGuffin, propelling its narrator toward the person who matters most—herself.

Author Blurb Rene Denfeld, bestselling author of The Child Finder
As luminous as the morning sun over the fir forests, Red Paint is a story of where strength takes us. Sasha taqwšəblu LaPointe goes looking to the past to help heal from terrible traumas, finding inspiration in her ancestors, the Salish people. This is a book destined to be a classic. Read it.

Reader Reviews

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Beyond the Book

The Music and Writing of Sasha LaPointe

Sasha LaPointeSasha LaPointe, the author of Red Paint: The Ancestral Autobiography of a Coast Salish Punk, is an established musician, poet and writer of nonfiction who holds an MFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts. According to her website, she draws inspiration from her Indigenous background (from the Upper Skagit and Nooksack Indian tribes) and "writes with a focus on trauma and resilience, ranging topics from PTSD, sexual violence, the work her great grandmother did for the Lushootseed language revitalization, to loud basement punk shows and what it means to grow up mixed heritage." As is apparent from reading Red Paint, her nonfiction writing is informed by the other forms of art she practices.

In her book, LaPointe recounts her ...

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