- someone who likes a quick easy read, but still with a bit of depth (perfect mid summer read)
Has anyone ever read this book? It was published when I was fifteen. It’s a sparkly gem with a cute cover and it’s CanCon to boot.
I ate this book up. It’s fast, it’s heartfelt and aches in your mind when you aren’t devouring it. Oh, and it’s FUNNY (as other Toews books are). I laughed often at the pure silliness of the book, and frequently shared character antics with Alan.
A young mother, Knute, and her four-year old daughter named Summer Feelin’, return to their small hometown. Knute’s mother has asked them to help care for her ailing father. Except that this is a huge problem for the town’s mayor Hosea Funk. The mayor is intent on the town maintaining a constant population of 1500. No more, no less.
Hosea has a crazy scheme to win the title of the smallest town in Canada, which would merit a visit from the Prime Minister on Canada Day. It means his mayoral duties included moving the town limits to include/exclude people, or stressing over the sudden population increase of triplets, and convincing the town’s only doctor to set up practise elsewhere. He is so dedicated to his plan that he will not allow his girlfriend to move in from Winnipeg even though it is putting a strain on their relationship.
The father of Knute’s child returns, throwing the mayor’s numbers completely out of whack. I can’t really give many other details because Toews is good about hiding things until the end, sad or happy, and they make the book even more appetizing.
The book is goofy and the characters are ridiculous and unbelievable. Except that they are the people you know: your own father, your in-laws, the neighbours you understand and love but who are incredible quirky if you just think about it.
The book is at the same time heartbreaking. The characters are separated by misunderstandings. Toews shows that herein lies the meaning of life. It hides somewhere in being part of a togetherness with people that surround us and frustrate us, but also encourage us and give us purpose and a life to live.
I loved A Complicated Kindness which won the G.G. (Governor General’s) award in 2004; I’ve read it twice. If you liked that book, this one will satisfy you too.
I read A Boy of Good Breeding the first week of July, and I loved that it coincided with the timing in the book. I felt the excitement of approaching summer and the undefinable moment you realize that spring is over simply because the entire world’s mood changes. The short spring (even shorter in Manitoba) has its subtle delights, like keeping your coat opened for the first time, and planting, and the smell of manure deep in your nose. Toews described the dawn of summer beautifully.
Also, the culmination of the book is Canada Day and it filled me with true patriotic love. It’s neat to read Canadian fiction. It made it a perfect summer read.
Light, airy, and lovely. And a breath of fresh air after Wolf Hall, and our family being in between houses, and at the beginning of summer.
Miriam Toews, you made me smile and laugh.
Check in next week for a review on One Week Job by Sean Aiken. Great for anyone who wonders what they should do with their lives…. ( ie everyone).