I don’t know what to say about this Evergreen book except that it was a really tough read.
Katherena Vermette’s The Break tells the story of one fateful event on a cold winter’s night. We get many perspectives on this tragedy and the events leading up to it and its aftermath. As the book progresses we see how these perspectives belong to a group of different women (and one man) who are all connected in some way, shape, or form.
I can’t say I enjoyed this book since it deals with such gut-wrenchingly difficult subjects. I did find it engrossing, one of those books that is really difficult to put down. These women demonstrate such strength and resilience and it was inspiring, but overall this book just left me very sad.
I was pleasantly surprised by my latest Evergreen read, The Spawning Grounds by Gail Anderson-Dargatz. It takes place around one of the many B.C. rivers where salmon spawn; one side of the river sits the Robertson family homestead, on the other is a Shuswap community. The novel opens with a protest against a development that threatens this integrity of the river.
With that sort of set up I was expecting a very particular sort of story, but that was not at all what I got. I’m having trouble writing about this one because there’s such a major twist and I feel like it would be kind of a spoiler to reveal it, but it happens so early in the plot that it’s hard not to hint at it. Let’s just say I enjoyed this book and would recommend it, but not necessarily to anyone and everyone.
I didn’t love this book. I don’t even think I liked it. There were elements I really enjoyed – one of the main characters is a weaver and the descriptions of her loom and yarn were quite enjoyable, and a secondary character is a chef from Trinidad (where my family is from) and the descriptions of island food are mouthwatering.
But some of the characters find themselves in really awful and unhealthy situations and it just made me so uncomfortable. I could see how the they got there, they truly did not know any better (this is the type of book that really drives home the importance of properly educating your children, even when the topics might be something you’d rather avoid). There was one scene where a character does something absolutely morally reprehensible yet it’s almost glossed over. Also, everything just wrapped up so neatly. Overall, reading this book made me feel a bit dirty – I wouldn’t recommend it.
Well, the first book on my Evergreen reading list was Ivan Coyote’s Tomboy Survival Guide. This memoir is written as a series of vignettes from Coyote’s past. I honestly think this is a strong contender for my favourite book of the year. Coyote is referred to as a storyteller and man-oh-man does that description ever fit. They have this conversational tone to their writing that makes me feel like I could just drift away into whatever it is they’re talking about. Coyote and I have had vastly different life experiences and yet I found their life stories very relatable, they have this way of getting right down to the core feelings of a given situation.