Book Review: A Mind Spread Out on the Ground by Alicia Elliott

*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

Title: A Mind Spread Out on the Ground

Author: Alicia Elliott

Publisher: DoubleDay Canada

Publication Date: March 26, 2109

ISBN: 9780385692380

Synopsis from Goodreads:
In an urgent and visceral work that asks essential questions about the treatment of Native people in North America while drawing on intimate details of her own life and experience with intergenerational trauma, Alicia Elliott offers indispensable insight and understanding to the ongoing legacy of colonialism. What are the links between depression, colonialism and loss of language–both figurative and literal? How does white privilege operate in different contexts? How do we navigate the painful contours of mental illness in loved ones without turning them into their sickness? How does colonialism operate on the level of literary criticism?


Elliott’s A Mind Spread Out on the Ground is a poignant collection of essays discussing her experiences with womanhood, race, culture, sexual assault, mental illness, Indigeneity, and so much more. Elliott ruminates on her experience growing up in poverty with an Indigenous father and a white Catholic mother. Her essays provide insight into her own autobiographical experiences while exploring the treatment of Indigenous peoples in North America. Having spent time in both Canada and the US, Elliott speaks widely of systemic oppression and racism.

Elliott’s voice is one of strength and understanding. Her perspectives are honed and her prose is beautifully conveyed. Her essays are raw and honest as she speaks of the traumas and experiences of her past, as well as her journey in the present. She shares her stories of a woman and a mother, coming to understand her upbringing in new ways as she learns more about the world around her. Her experiences with mental illness and shame are so vivid and visceral, creating an open platform for readers to engage and understand, perhaps sharing their own stories along the way. I enjoyed her captivating voice so thoroughly.

I missed a chance to see Elliott speak and I regret it because I would have loved to listen to her explore her essays in even greater depth. Perhaps I’ll get the chance soon. I can’t recommend this book enough.

Published by wornpagesandink

Hi! I'm Jaaron. I'm a book-obsessed blogger, writer, reader, coffee-drinker, and dog-lover. I have a B.A.H. in English Literature and a post-graduate diploma in Book and Magazine publishing. I've been fortunate to have worked in both trade and educational publishing. If you have any recommendations for excellent reads, let me know!

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