"I found Spirits of a Feather truly captivating. It managed to tackle a sensitive, timely subject with dignity and understanding. The characters are real likeable and more than a little complex. I left the book much better informed about them and their lives. I'm looking forward to the sequel. Wonderful!"
Molly Stewart: Author, Journalist and Creative Writing Instructor
I am really happy that you wrote this book. People are always "shocked" because they don't want to know the truth. It kinda shows how out of touch they really are and that life is not always a white picket fence, or 2.5 children!
Your interpretation of the gay scene in Winnipeg and in San Francisco was very amazing! I can't wait to read your next novel!
". . . I was engaged in the story, interested to see what would befall the main character."
Spirits of a Feather by Shirriff is a book I recently finished reading and that I really liked. It is the story of Jay, a young boy who leaves home because he can't take the abuse anymore and heads off for the big city (in this case, Winnipeg). He has $11 in his pocket and nowhere to go. He is incredibly naive and (lucky for him) meets Phil who takes him in and begins the process of teaching Jay to open his mind and grow.
Jay's experiences with the gay community, vegetarianism, a native shaman, drug dealers, a medium and the family of his rich girlfriend teach him about the varieties of life and people and help him to heal his own prejudices and find his own way in the world; seeing people and not labels and stereotypes and exploring his own identity. I liked this book because I have known a lot of Jays in this world - full of pain, ignorance and anger and I really enjoyed the characters his path crosses. I like to see stories of growth and release from our demons.
- Wind Dancer<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Contact the Author:
1006 Crescent Road West
Portage la Prairie MB R1N 0Z3
Phone: (204) 857-5635
Fax: (208) 979-2633
Title: Spirits of a Feather
Author: Charles W. Shirriff
Category: Fact-based Fiction
Format: Trade paperback
Copyright Date: 2000
Price: $11.95 US ($19.95 CAN)
Size: 6" x 9"
First Print Run: On Demand
Available from: iUniverse.com (1-877-823-9235)
"Spirits of a Feather" is a fact-based novel which follows the adventures of Jay, a teenager who heads south to escape the isolation of his dysfunctional family in the wilderness of northern Canada.
Winnipeg, the capital city of Manitoba, becomes the locale for Jay's experiences with the gay community, the occult, native shamanism, the drug culture, vegetarianism and a rich girlfriend. Through his experiences with his friends and the acceptance of two older men, Jay matures from the egocentricity of youth to a burgeoning social conscience as he learns to cope with his homophobic feelings and the challenges of his new world.
The nineteen vegetarian recipes included in the appendix are designed to be nourishing and enjoyable for nonvegetarians as well as vegetarians.
Jay is a seventeen year-old boy from a tiny, remote northern community who journeys south to the metropolis of Winnipeg, the capital of Manitoba, to fulfill his destiny. He meets Phil on the bus and is begriended by him. Jay stays with Phil and meets two of his friends, Steve who is gay, and Cam who is his friend. He also meets Sue who later becomes his girlfriend.
After a brief involvement in the local drug trade under the tutelage of Tony, Jay takes a job bussing tables in a rundown restaurant in a seedy area of the city. He lives in a room above the restaurant where he meets a native Indian shaman whom they call R.B.
The novel follows Jay's experiences with other people his age whose lives encompass drugs, raves, occult experiences, brushes with the law and people of various life-styles.
Jay breaks up with Sue because of her rich father's concerns about him, and goes to San Francisco with Steve (somewhat against his personal inclinations). The story ends with Jay flying home because he has learned that Sue is in the hospital.
Synopsis of Spirits of a Feather
The reader is led to view society through the naive eyes of Jay, an intelligent young man who is forced to grow up quickly in order to survive. His experiences move him through segments of the community such as: the poor, survival on the street, the gay culture, native religion, the drug culture, vegetarianism, and the life-style of the wealthy. The novel would lend itself well to adaption for film or TV.