A NATIONAL BESTSELLER
A devastatingly frank memoir that tears open the past to examine how circumstances--and the choices we make--dictate the people we become, for fans of Educated and The Glass Castle.
Mistakes to Run With chronicles the turbulent life of Yasuko Thanh, from early childhood in the closest thing Victoria, BC, has to a slum to teen years as a sex worker and, finally, to her emergence as an award-winning author. As a child, Thanh embraced evangelical religion, only to rebel against it and her equally rigid parents, cutting herself, smoking, and shoplifting. At fifteen, the honour-roll runaway develops a taste for drugs and alcohol. After a stint in jail at sixteen, feeling utterly abandoned by her family, school, and society, Thanh meets the man who would become her pimp and falls in love.
The next chapter of her life takes Thanh to the streets of Vancouver, where she endures beatings, arrests, crack cocaine, and an unwanted pregnancy. The act of writing ultimately becomes a solace from her suffering. Leaving the sex trade, but refusing to settle on any one thing, Thanh forges a new life for herself, from dealing drugs in four languages to motherhood and a complicated marriage, and emerges as a successful writer.
But even as publication and awards bolster her, she remains haunted by her past.
YASUKO THANH's story collection Floating Like the Dead was shortlisted for the Danuta Gleed Award and the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. One of its stories won an Arthur Ellis Award for Best Crime Short Story. The title story won the Journey Prize for the best story published in Canada in 2009. Quill & Quire named Floating Like the Dead a Best Book of the Year. CBC hailed Yasuko Thanh one of ten writers to watch in 2013. Mysterious Fragrance of the Yellow Mountains, her debut novel, won the Rogers Writers' Trust for Fiction, the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize, and was nominated for the Amazon.ca First Novel Award. She lives in Victoria, BC, with her two children. In her spare time she plays in a punk band called 12 Gauge Facial, for which she writes all the songs and music.
A Globe and Mail National Bestseller
Featured in Refinery29's "11 Books We Can't Wait To Read This Spring"
One of CBC's "12 Canadian books coming out in April we can't wait to read"
Praise for Mistakes to Run With:
“On rare occasions, you read a book that gives you the sense it had to be written, that the impulse to get these words on the page was more about necessity than choice. Books such as those are full of passion, pain and urgency, and offer the kind of triumph you feel lucky to witness. Mistakes to Run With is one such book—it feels driven by the compulsion to document, by the urgent human desire to be heard. And when every detail has been shared, every unvarnished truth thoughtfully relayed, Thanh makes you want to stand up and cheer the accomplishment.” —The Globe and Mail
“[A] brutally honest account. . . . Through her willingness to share even the darkest moments of her unsettled life, in Mistakes to Run With Thanh offers her deeply personal story as a highly compelling narrative.” —The Winnipeg Free Press
“[A] stunning new memoir.” —Toronto Star
“Bold, brave, and engrossing. . . . Thanh’s survival is story of sheer will and one that will keep you riveted to the page.” —Vancouver Sun
“The book’s honesty is relentless, and its spirit of survival defies platitudes.” —The Georgia Straight
“Whether earning top marks or justifying self-destruction under the guise of a pursuit of freedom, the pressure to earn love—and the belief that it’s never freely given—form some of the most devastating parts of this memoir. . . . The prose here is alive in ways that are both difficult and emotionally accessible.”
—Quill and Quire
“Mistakes to Run With is refreshingly brave, bold, and open. Rather than hiding behind a tidy story arc, Yasuko Thanh places value on all life experiences, good, bad, beautiful, scary, and sad. The result is an incredibly rare and generous thing—a memoir that lets me in so close to her life, it changed how I see mine.”
—Claire Cameron, author of The Last Neanderthal
“Remarkable…unflinching and honest. I was profoundly moved by Thanh's tenacity amidst dire conditions and odds. With a writer's eye, she finds beauty and hope in lost causes and the strength in language to explain how one survives. Thanh mines her past to make sense of who she is and was always meant to be—a brilliant writer and an exceptional woman.”
—Carrianne Leung, author of That Time I Loved You