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Family matriarch Kate Parker, suffering from dementia, decides to go over the Kakabeka Falls in a barrel. She survives, but is in a coma. The video goes viral and the media takes to calling her the “Conqueror of Kakabeka.” The rest of the Parker family “tumbles into chaos" as they come together to be there for Kate.
The story is told from various perspectives. We start off with Finn, the prodigal daughter living in Toronto who finds out about her mother’s exploits when a reporter calls her for a comment. We also hear from Katriina, the daughter-in-law, who is constantly trying to “be better” and sees these efforts take their toll, Kate’s adopted son Shawn, who is worried about losing his family, Finn’s twin sister, Nicki, identical in appearance but very different in personality and temperament, Nicki’s eldest daughter, London, who is obsessed with sharks and involved in an online relationship with a much older man, Kate’s husband, Walter, torn between his love for Kate and his love of Lake Superior, and several others connected to, but outside of the family. Each chapter is narrated by a different character and there is a handy character legend in the front.
Amy Jones deftly weaves the story of a family in a moment of crisis, allowing each character an opportunity to convey their own take on this turn of events and give the reader an idea of their back story and who they are, as well as how they perceive other members of their family. The author creates a compelling tale of modern family life, bringing to light all the complexities inherent in any family with compassion, humor, and honesty. Ms. Jones is not afraid to look at the ugly truths. And make you laugh while she does it.
This is the type of book that makes you grateful for a snow day, because once you start reading you will not want to stop until you reach the end. Part of you will want to read fast to find out what happens and part of you will want to read slowly because you don’t want it to end.
The Current is a literary mystery. It is also a study in small towns and of relationships. The dynamics between people; between friends, between fathers and daughters and mothers and sons, between brothers. It is an examination of the strength and fragility of life itself. The story is about the choices people make, and the circumstances that are beyond our control, and how both these factors lead people to places they never expected to go.
The novel opens with a car accident that may not actually be an accident. Two young women plunge into the icy river, but only one comes out alive. The survivor starts questioning another incident, 10 years earlier, where another girl from her hometown, the same age she is now, went into the same river under questionable circumstances and drowned. A young man was accused but, for lack of evidence, never charged.
The novel follows the survivor, her father, the father of the murdered girl, the young man everyone blames for her murder, and his family. The young survivor begins to examine the evidence and ask questions, uncovering secrets that lead her to places she never imagined and to people who may not want the truth dredged up.
Tim Johnston creates complex characters, not small town stereotypes. He writes an engaging and compelling story, weaving past and present, revisiting events from the perspective of multiple people. It isn’t your typical whodunit. Fans of Dennis Lehane, Linwood Barclay, and Harlen Coben will enjoy this book.
Women Rowing North is a difficult book to sum up in a short space. It is, in a sense, a guide for women as they move from middle age into their “golden years.” It speaks of the changes women face as their children and, in many cases, grandchildren become adults, as their parents and spouses and friends age and die, as their bodies change and their life circumstances change. As they become caregivers to those who used to care for them. As they face their own mortality and take stock of their lives.
The book is broken up into four sections: Challenges of the Journey, Travel Skills, The People on the Boat and The Northern Lights. The first section deals with the changes that happen to women as they age, not just with their bodies but with their lives, their careers, their relationships, and their changing roles. The second section speaks to what we can control and what we can choose to let go of or accept about the things we can no longer (or never really could) control. The third section deals with relationships and the final section summarizes and concludes the themes and stories in the book.
It is certainly a book worth reading and not just for women “of a certain age.” There are moments that feel like a self-help book. Other times it feels as if we are reading a memoir. The book is an honest look at life for women as they age, but it offers a template for finding the joy and fulfillment that also comes with age as we look back and learn from all we have done and all whom we have known. She explores various ways women can make this chapter of their lives one of great happiness and contentment.
Bim, Bam, Bop…and Oona, is a fun picture book for children, It is the story of Oona, a smaller duck than Bim, Bam, and Bop, who is always last for everything. No matter what Oona tries - alarm clocks to get up early to working out, Oona is always last. But Oona is good with “gizmos” having built the alarm clock and workout equipment, and creates a gizmo that will, once and for all, solve the problem of always being last.
Aside from it being a fun book to read, the story gives a valuable lesson to young readers - if you don’t like something about your life, use your imagination and creativity to find a solution. And, if at first you don’t succeed, try again and again until you do. There are probably several different morals to be found in this book, depending on how the reader looks at it.
The illustrations are full page, colorful and fun. A great recreation of rural life on a farm, replete with barn, fields, and pond. The gizmos are also very creative. Overall, a great book to read with your child that will be enjoyable each time they ask for it.