Books·Canadian

Half-Bads in White Regalia

A book by Cody Caetano.

Cody Caetano

The Caetanos move into a doomed house in the highway village of Happyland before an inevitable divorce pulls Cody's parents in separate directions. His mom, Mindimooye, having discovered her Anishinaabe birth family and Sixties Scoop origin story, embarks on a series of fraught relationships and fresh starts. His dad, O Touro, a Portuguese immigrant and drifter, falls back into "big do, little think" behaviour, despite his best intentions.

Left alone at the house in Happyland, Cody and his siblings must fend for themselves, even as the pipes burst and the lights go out. His protective big sister, Kris, finds inventive ways to put food on the table, and his stoic big brother, Julian, facilitates his regular escapes into the world of video games. As life yanks them from one temporary solution to the next, they steal moments of joy and resist buckling under "baddie" temptations aplenty.

Capturing the chaos and wonder of a precarious childhood, Cody Caetano delivers a fever dream coming-of-age garnished with a slang all his own. Half-Bads in White Regalia is an unforgettable debut that unspools a tangled family history with warmth, humour, and deep generosity. (From Hamish Hamilton)

Cody Caetano is a Toronto-based writer of Anishinaabe and Portuguese descent and an off-reserve member of Pinaymootang First Nation. His debut memoir, Half-Bads in White Regalia, was written as part of his Masters in creative writing at the University of Toronto, under the mentorship of the acclaimed late Indigenous writer and academic Lee Maracle. Excerpts from Caetano's memoir won the 2020 Indigenous Voices Award for Unpublished Prose.

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