David Robert Loblaw has written a fine memoir, filled with intimate, accurate detail and raw emotional honesty that vividly portrays growing up in east Regina, Saskatchewan in the 1960s. I ought to know – I grew up and lived a parallel life just a few blocks from him! I think I understand what has driven him to pen this and I truly hope that its writing has been the catharsis he may have sought. It is a touching tribute to “the two women who created [him]” but also an inadvertent homage to the many others to whom he is less charitable for they have also shaped him in at least equal measure. That much is patently obvious in their repeated appearance. I think that that is what gives the book its tragic irony.
There are many amusing observations – some are universal, and some are probably only discernible by those of us who were there. The almost stream-of-consciousness narrative forces the reader to focus and so might dissuade an uncareful reader, but the author’s verbal wherewithal and intelligence is obvious. I heartily recommend this book to any survivor of the Catholic education system – it has clearly produced more than its share of sturdy iconoclasts!
This is a memoir of a life spent almost entirely on the Canadian prairies. In it, there is nothing historic. You won’t read it because of Mr Loblaw’s proximity to famous events or people. But it is nonetheless extraordinary. This marvelous collection of anecdotes feels both artless, in the simplicity, directness, and naivety of the writing, and artful, as the stories group themselves under the successive themes of family, school, church, home, and death.
But more than the artfulness or artlessness of the writing is the humanity of these tales. These are not trivial events. These are the events that form all of us, sometimes well, sometimes not so well. Some of these stories will make you laugh, it is true, but some will make you cry or rage. Some will make you argue with the writer. Most will make you think and remember.
Probably the happiest thing about this book is Mr Loblaw’s very positive engagement with life. He is a happy warrior. Probably the saddest thing about this book is that, I think, the two people who it was most written for will never read it. But the rest of us can.
Unreservedly recommended for everyone, not just lapsed Catholics from the prairies.
I really enjoyed this book from beginning to middle, to end. I laughed, I cried, I did both at the same time. It is very well written and shows a side of the writer that some may never see. One of my favorite lines is "I stand there, fuming at the irresponsibility of the teachers not to tell us to wear gym clothes to Track & Field Day." I can just see young David, standing there all perturbed! Now if only I could count it as one of my books on Good Reads. Well done David G!
My favourite thing about reading this book was the funny moments that could have happened in any house in any town across the prairies. But David Loblaw has the ability to capture these moments and play them back to us. So many beautiful little scenes around a kitchen table or in a school hallway, vividly described and giving a strong sense of time, place and emotion. There is plenty of struggle in this book, and the hardships that families across the country face daily, in an unknown way. Loblaw brings it all into the known, and I enjoyed his book immensely.