Consider Always Brave, Sometimes Kind as your next book club read. Below are several resources for group reading, including an event menu, party tips & favors, discussion questions, and a Family Tree featuring the friends and families of Always Brave, Sometimes Kind. The author is also available for virtual book club visits – if your group would like to ask questions about the novel, please get in touch!
Always Brave, Sometimes Kind is available for preorder and will be available for sale on September 29th, 2020.
Music plays a big part in Always Brave, Sometimes Kind, and these songs played important roles in inspiring the author through the creation of the book. Songs are listed as they appear (or inspired) each chapter. See if you can guess where each song places in the book! (Hint – some chapters have more than one song.)
Set in the cities, reserves, and rural reaches of Alberta, Katie Bickell’s debut novel is told in a series of stories that span the years from 1990 to 2016, through cycles of boom and bust in the oil fields, government budget cuts and workers rights policies, the rising opioid crisis, and the intersecting lives of people whose communities sometimes stretch farther than they know.
We meet a teenage runaway who goes into labour at West Edmonton Mall, a doctor managing hospital overflow in a time of healthcare cutbacks, a broke dad making extra pay through a phone sex line, a young musician who dreams of fame beyond the reserve, and a dedicated hockey mom grappling with sense of self when she’s no longer needed―or welcome―at the rink.
Always Brave, Sometimes Kind captures a network of friends, caregivers, in-laws, and near misses, with each character’s life coming into greater focus as we learn more about the people around them. Tracing alliances and betrayals from different perspectives over decades, Bickell writes an ode to home and community that is both warm and gritty, well-defined and utterly complicated.