The Woo Woo

Lindsay Wong’s memoir, The Woo Woo, takes a look at growing up in a family plagued with mental illness.  Equal parts heartbreaking and darkly comedic, The Woo Woo explores the author’s complicated relationship with her parents, siblings and extended family as well as her own mental illness after being diagnosed with a neurological disorder in…

The Border

Twice now, Don Winslow believed he was out. After finishing 2005’s The Power of the Dog, he’d felt he said his piece on the war on drugs.  Then, nearly a decade later, he sat down at a keyboard and started typing what would become his follow-up to The Power of the Dog, The Cartel.  After…

Homes

Homes is the story of Abu Bakr al Rabeeah, as told to Winnie Yeung, about his family’s life in both Iraq and Syria before moving to Canada as refugees in 2015. For as long as I can remember, there has always been some sort of conflict ongoing in the Middle East. Despite seeing it on…

Brother

OK, book three of Canada Reads 2019 down.  After reading Brother, I’m becoming skeptical of the tagline for this year’s competition – “one book to move you”.  It should probably be, “Canada Reads: Embrace Depression.” David Chariandy’s novel Brother is an absolutely tremendous, albeit heartbreaking read.  Alternating between the past and the present, Chariandy’s book…

Suzanne

Pieced together with the help of a private detective, Suzanne is a fictionalized telling of the life of Suzanne Meloche (Barbeau) by her granddaughter, Anais Barbeau-Lavalette. Suzanne is the second book I’ve read of the five shortlisted for the 2019 Canada Reads competition.  With the first being By Chance Alone (a memoir written by a…

By Chance Alone

In his powerful memoir, Holocaust survivor Max Eisen details his early years, his internment in Auschwitz and his emigration to Canada. When the 2019 Canada Reads longlist was announced, I had hoped By Chance Alone would be selected for the shortlist.  I suppose I would have read it eventually, but in a year where the…

The Dark Half

Following a commercial flop with his debut novel, author Thad Beaumont begins writing violent crime stories featuring tough-guy Alexis Machine under the pseudonym George Stark.  This seems to do the trick as Beaumont is massively successful.  But the urge to return to his original dramatic style brings about the end of Stark.  After a mock…