The Wild Boy of Waubamik - Dundurn

The Wild Boy of Waubamik

A Memoir

Published January 2023


“An inspiring story of resilience, told with a vivid sense of character and humour.” —RICHARD CROUSE, CTV host and film critic

Film critic, writer, and broadcaster Thom Ernst chronicles his life growing up with an abusive father in rural Ontario.

The residents of Waubamik know about the Wild Boy, a somewhat feral child, standing nearly naked in a rusty playground of weeds and discarded metal, clutching a headless doll. They know the boy has been plucked from poverty and resettled into a middle-class family. But they don’t know that something worse awaits him there.

This is the story of a system that failed, a community that looked the other way, and a family that kept silent. It is also a record of the popular culture of the 1960s — a powerful set of myths that kept a boy comforted. But ultimately, The Wild Boy of Waubamik is a story of triumph, of a man who grew up to become a film critic and broadcaster despite his abusive childhood. It reminds us that life, even at its darkest, can surprise us with moments of joy and hope and dreams for the future.



Thom Ernst

Thom Ernst is a film writer, broadcaster, and critic. He was the former host and producer of TVO’s Saturday Night at the Movies. Thom currently lives in Toronto.

Book Details

January 2023
5.5x8.5 in
248 pp
January 2023
248 pp
January 2023
248 pp