... a much-needed shift in the adoption narrative, long dominated by the experiences of adoptive parents ... While the birth parents of adopted children are often little more than names on a birth certificate or family registry, Probably Ruby provides the perspectives and struggles of Ruby’s biological parents, Grace and Leon. Their flaws and small triumphs in a system that shames illegitimacy remind us that original parents lead full lives, marked by the trauma of adoption ... Ruby is a most believable and authentic protagonist, which is no surprise as Bird-Wilson is transracially adopted and is of Cree-Métis descent ... Bird-Wilson uses Cree without italics, forcing the reader to put their own ignorance into perspective. The context gently makes it evident that kohkum means grandmother and moshom is grandfather, and that reclaiming original language is foundational to understanding one’s ancestry ... In a time when truth is coveted, Probably Ruby is a refreshing reminder of the realities of forced Indigenous adoption and family separation. Bird-Wilson’s writing is at times poetic and ever compelling. We are fortunate to have her and Ruby among us.
... engaging ... If Bird-Wilson’s fragmented structure and prose can at times feel stiff, Ruby never disappoints with her big heart and outrageous sense of humor — and her resilient search for her own history. In the end, she finds a fleeting and imperfect version of the family she’s been searching for, and the reader can’t help wondering what her childhood could have been like.
... a work of incredible depth and breadth ... The novel unfolds in a non-linear narrative that Bird-Wilson masterfully weaves together with elegiac prose. It is populated with revelatory passages that are at once beautiful and raw, and demand for you to sit with them a little while ... poetic gut punches and reveal a profound gravity of loss ... The kaleidoscopic approach to unravelling Ruby’s life, jumping back and forth from the past to the present through vignettes that showcase several multi-faceted characters, provides the reader context that Ruby doesn’t have and an emotional resonance that floods this story with heart, whether that heart has been broken or is struggling to mend ... a difficult novel that challenges readers to make connections between the world that Bird-Wilson has created in the book and the country that we live in today, allowing us to see the world through the eyes of another: their struggles and their resiliencies. Her writing is never didactic, always engrossing, and the protagonist is a complex, unforgettable character who will stay with you long after the last page has been turned. Probably Ruby is a timely and important novel every Canadian should read.