Fall is upon us — the season of pumpkins, cozy nights in and some good spooky stories!
This year, I enjoyed the great honour of reading a couple stories from Joel A. Sutherland’s “Haunted Canada: Chilling True Tales” to Ms. Bolton-Robinson’s delightful Grade 5 distance learning class at Lauderdale School.
What a fun way to start get into the Halloween spirit, for myself and Ms. Bolton-Robinson’s students:
Thanks for keeping me company, kids – but now I’m spooked out and all alone!
Set in the cities 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.
Are you part of a book club? Please consider reading Always Brave, Sometimes Kind. The author is available for virtual readings and Q&A, and has a whole page devoted to ABSK Book Club Freebies on this website!