The Lesser Blessed Background

The Lesser Blessed Background

The Lesser Blessed (1996) is a coming-of-age novel by Richard Van Camp that tells the story of Larry Sole, a Native growing up in the forests of Canada. Larry befriends Johnny Beck, who is new to the area. Johnny, however, is in a relationship with Sole's long-time crush Juliet Hope and Larry is immensely jealous. Throughout the novel, as the boys get to know each other better and trust each other more and more, Larry opens up to Johnny about his emotionally and sexually abusive father. The novel also follows the two boys' adventures in a time of enlightenment for many in the upper reaches of Canada. It also deals with quite a few complex thematic issues, including addiction, abuse, teenage issues, regret, and religion.

The Lesser Blessed is Van Camp's debut novel. Van Camp was extensively praised for the novel, with Quill & Quire calling him “a writer to watch” and praising the novel for its "awful, unavoidable truth." The realism of the novel was also complimented, with many citing the thrilling nature of Van Camp's syntax and diction as strong points of the his debut novel. The novel later was adopted to a film of the same name in 2012. It received mixed reviews and currently holds a 50% on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes. Many critics pointed out the films script (written by the films director) as a weak point, citing its clunky dialogue, even though the dialogue of the novel was cited as a strong point.

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