Our provincial Health Ministry had just announced we were permitted, for the time being, to travel between health regions within BC. And I was on the next ferry leaving the mainland. I saw it as an opportunity to further explore our province, something I hadn’t truly done since the government marked a sesquicentennial celebration a number of years ago. This time around I was sticking to the coast; islands specifically, concentrated around BC’s southwest. I was also stopping in at indie bookstores to say “hi” and sign copies of my Gone Viking travel books. And while I picked up other new titles at each store, I hadn’t set out on this excursion empty-handed. In addition to a duffle full of comfy clothes, I’d also packed some books I was eager to read, one of these being Christina Myers’ The List of Last Chances.
This is not my usual go-to in a book, and I’m delighted I went with it. Knowing Christina from author associations and having read together at online events, I liked her style and trusted her as a writer. So I jumped into her novel with confidence. I also liked the fact that despite this being a work of fiction, it does draw from facets of Myers’ childhood, that being regular long-distance summer road trips as a family, driving great swaths of the country. Which, along with personal growth and bourgeoning self-assured independence, is the central theme of the book. The perspective is well-articulated and communicated. Myers also captures dialogue exceptionally well. Our protagonist is likeable, as flawed as any and all of us, susceptible to mood swings and insecurities, with relative objectivity that makes the reader want the best for her.
Along the way, figuratively and literally as the story progresses along roadways across Canada, we’re able to vicariously enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of a proper road trip: scenic landmarks, motels and truck stops, historic and sentimental milestones, and deepening relationships amongst our characters. This lovely novel is itself a journey, wherever you are in life, from new relationships to old, youth to old age, this tale is a good one. Irrespective of the season or travel restrictions, if you’re looking for a worthwhile journey, shared in an engaging manner, Christina Myers’ The List of Last Chances is a trip you can embrace, enjoy, maybe even learn from, and not soon forget.
Christina Myers is a former journalist, a freelance writer and editor, and a lifelong book nerd. She is the editor of the BC bestselling non-fiction collection BIG: Stories About Life in Plus-Sized Bodies (Caitlin Press, 2020) and her writing has appeared in anthologies, newspapers, magazines, and online. A fan of red lipstick and dresses with big skirts and deep pockets, she juggles stay-at-home-parenthood and creative work from her home outside Vancouver, BC.
- Title: The List of Last Chances: A Novel
- Author: Christina Myers
- Publisher: Caitlin Press, 2021
- ISBN: 9781773860596
- Pages: 215 pp
Bill Arnott is the bestselling author of the Gone Viking travel memoirs (Gone Viking: A Travel Saga, Gone Viking II: Beyond Boundaries, Gone Viking III: The Holy Grail) and A Season on Vancouver Island. He’s won numerous book awards and received a Fellowship at London’s Royal Geographical Society for his expeditions. When not trekking with a small pack and journal, Bill can be found on Canada’s west coast, where he lives near the sea on Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh land.