Ray Guy: Portrait of a Rebel by Ron Crocker

Ron Crocker was proud to be Guy’s friend, he appreciated his charm, and his wit in a certain you-had-to-be-there kinda way. Guy was the Newfoundland columnist, satirist and essayist whose passion was in his home province. Ron Crocker who shared a friendship with him and, ultimately, this biography and memoir of his gifted and vulnerable friend.

Guy’s contributions to endorsing the right to voice opinions. In addition to the path he laid for young journalists finding their beginnings in Newfoundland in the 21st century. Guy, who was loyal to Newfoundland in a way that many opportunistic journalists aren’t. Guy was determined to prove that he could maintain a career in Newfoundland journalism and literature. 

Guy supported the dissolution of denominational, Church-controlled education in Newfoundland. He spoke against the Smallwood administration so effectively that Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau himself hung on Guy’s every word through carefully crafted satirical pieces. Guy reserved a special loathing for certain politicians like J. R. Smallwood in whom he detected cult leadership tendencies. Even Pierre Trudeau made him cringe when everyone else was in their “Trudeaumania” phase. This word was created by Guy and caught on and was used from Coast to Coast. 

“If Kathie hadn’t married him, Ray would have died from loneliness.” -Alice Guy Kathie was a brassy mainlander and Guy was a true Newfoundlander to the core. Opposites do attract and in just six weeks after they had met, Kathie Housser and Ray Guy were married. Guy-Houssers welcomed two daughters in the late 1970s, Rachel and Annie. They were a pretty normal and straightforward family living in St. John’s. 

Crocker shares columns from Guy’s writing in the book. One of my favourites is from the early 1980s when he wrote for a magazine called Axiom, and it was succeeded by Atlantic Insight. It was a publication based in Halifax and distributed widely in the Maritimes and very limited in Newfoundland. This magazine forced Guy to grow as a writer and find new inspiration, and he did. 

As Crocker writes “but Guy was Guy” this can’t be more true for a man who never backed down on any topic in his career. For that reason alone, respect for his prose. 

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Crocker’s biographic tribute to Ray Guy is very well researched and written.  Crocker dives into Guy’s childhood and all his prose until he wrote his final published words for the Northeast Avalon Times in 2013. Crocker never sugarcoats Guy’s life or works and I believe Guy would resect Crocker for doing so.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading well-written, and brutally honest works.

About the Author

Ron Crocker grew up in Heart’s Delight, Newfoundland and Labrador, and is a graduate of Memorial University of Newfoundland and Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. After a print journalism background that included five years with the Evening Telegram, Ron worked for more than 30 years with the CBC as a journalist, producer, and executive. He lives in Glen Haven, Nova Scotia.

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Boulder Books (Jan. 1 2021)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 480 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1989417434
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1989417430

Shawna is a mother and a retired athlete and fitness professional.  She currently works in the Beauty Industry with Estee Lauder company.  In her spare time, she enjoys coaching basketball, promoting and reviewing products on Instagram @shawnajbutler, reading anything pertaining to fashion, beauty, fitness and sports. She likes to travel to anywhere warm and sunny.  Shawna has a BBA from Mount Saint Vincent University and currently lives in Paradise, Newfoundland.

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Anne Smith-Nochasak
Anne Smith-Nochasak
April 12, 2022 17:38

Nice review! Definitely sounds like the biography is true to the man.

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