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L.A. Beat

Jane Harris writes honest account of poverty and homelessness

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Lethbridge author Jane Harris is at Chapters in Lethbridge, from noon until 6  p.m. today (Saturday, Nov. 7,2015)  promoting her new book “ Finding Home In the Promised Land.Jane Harris is at Chapters talking about her new book. Photo by Richard Amery

 Harris combines her own harrowing tale of homelessness and abuse at the hands of her ex husband while exploring  how Canada has historically helped the poor in her new book “Finding Home in the promised land: A Personal History of Homelessness and Social Exile. On her journey, she also explores  the life of her great great grandmother and her family immigrating to Canada from Scotland in pre-Confederation Canada.

She covers a l9t of ground  in the 140 page book, plus extensive footnotes and bibliography, touching on her own family history, the history of poor houses and workhouses which gave  those down on their luck shelter  and work and helped them get back on  their feet and her first hand experience navigating the “ poverty industry” bureaucracy.

“I probably have enough information for four books,” she said, adding her publisher helped her trim down the manuscript to the 140 pages.
“I hope this book will open up a discussion about homelessness and  poverty,” she said.

Finding Home in the Promised Land is the fruit of Jane Harris’s journey through the wilderness of social exile after a violent crime left her injured and tumbling down the social ladder toward homelessness — for the second time in her life — in 2013. Her Scottish great-great grandmother Barbara`s portrait opens the door into pre-Confederation Canada. Her own story lights our journey through 21st Century Canada.

“ I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever written, though it really was a high price to pay,” she said.
 Her description  of her abuse is unflinchingly honest as it is heartbreaking.

 She struggled to write the book while coping with being essentially homeless while dealing with a brain injury resulting from almost dying at the hands of her ex-husband,  bill collectors, lawyers and being forced to sell her house because of her ex-husband's actions.

 The book is on sale at Chapters in Lethbridge.
 Harris will be reading from it until 3 p.m. and signing copies of the book until 6 p.m.

 — By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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