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Red Tuque Books Inc.  9780988122987
Title: Tending the Tree of Life
Author: Irwin Kahan
ISBN: 9780988122987
Publication Date: 2015
Publisher: Wild Sage Press
Pages:112
Format: Trade Paperback
Size: 6 x 9
Price: 24.95

Description:
How did a Jewish farm boy from Saskatchewan end up participating in LSD experiments and other cutting-edge psychiatric research? In a voice that charms the reader, Irwin Kahan - World War II veteran, champion for people suffering from schizophrenia, father of three - recounts his often dramatic life. He tells his story simply, with an engaging quirkiness that makes his character come fully alive on the page. This memoir illustrates the compassion and dedication of a man who strove, with humour and optimism, to tend the tree of life.

Review - I learned so much from Irwin's story - from the struggles of pioneering while attempting to keep the Jewish faith, to the difficulties of trying to finish high school by correspondence lessons, and even to what it's like to take LSD (for science, of course)... it is people like Irwin who I thank for starting the line of thinking that people with mental illness shouldn't be stigmatized or medicated into a stupor... the 'Farm Life' section of the memoir would be a fantastic thing for kids learning about pioneer days in Saskatchewan to read because it is a simple account full of funny little stories, but enough information to paint a very clear picture about what life was like. - Jessica Bickford, SPG Book Review.

Review #2 - Tending the Tree of Life offers a genuine set of reflections from a remarkable man who, many might argue, experienced some of the more challenging moments in Saskatchewan's history: growing up in a pioneering family in southern Saskatchewan, belonging to a Jewish community in what was at times an unwelcoming region, working in an overcrowded and dismal provincial mental health system, and ultimately surviving the early death of his wife. Irwin Kahan, however, revisits his past with what appears to be a characteristically optimistic and humane appraisal of it. Kahan's contributions to social work and mental health reform in Saskatchewan were considerable, particularly as he directed the Canadian Mental Health Association (Saskatchewan Division), and during his time with the Saskatchewan Department of Social Welfare when he engaged in social work with children. His reflections on these moments in his life are tender, anecdotal, and draw attention away from his personal achievements to un