Sweetness in the Belly by Camilla Gibb: Lilly, the child of British hippies, was was born in Yugoslavia, grew up in Morocco, and moved to Ethiopia when she was sixteen. When we meet her, she has lived in England for many years, where she is an oddity as a devout white Muslim in Thatcherite Britain.
Although I had to refer to the Wikipedia entry on Ethiopia to fully understand the political situation, I found the story fascinating, driven as it was by Lilly’s quest to locate herself and her community. As someone who has lived much of her life as a transplant, the question of how we define “home” is important to me. Is it by ethnic origin? the place of birth? religious affiliations? where we currently reside? the passport we carry? Sweetness… is a must-read for those who like to think about this sort of thing.
Redwork by Michel Bedard: Mysterious landlord. Curious teenage boy. Strange old house. Bullies. Intelligent feisty girl. All the makings for a good story, but then Cass (the fifteen-year-old-boy) began to have strange dreams. Books where dreams reveal plot points should come with warning labels “predictable literary device inside”. Redwork builds up a nice creepy atmosphere, but the climax was rather anti-climactic…heck, I’ll be rude and say boring. I can’t believe this book won the Governor-General’s Award for Children’s Literature. Aaugh!
The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch: I’m probably the only participant in the Canadian book challenge who hadn’t read this one in her childhood. Kick-ass resourceful princess vanquishes the dragon and saves the prince. Love it, love it, love it, so much that I’d like to do a Banksy and sneak copies into every known edition of Sleeping Beauty.
These three bring my tally for the Canadian book Challenge upto nine; four left to finish by the end of June.