Categories: MemoirsNon-Fiction

The Mother of All Degrassi: A Memoir by Linda Schuyler

I have liked “Degrassi” for as long as I can remember. In the ’80s and 90’s I devoured Degrassi Junior High and then Degrassi High School. I watched Degrassi Next Generation and Next Class when they revived the show in the 2000s. It has now been revealed that Degrassi is coming back in 2023 and I can’t wait. Degrassi is like a warm hug of familiarity and growth. It reminds me of being a teenager, of what it is to be a teenager and the constant struggle and challenge being a youth brings with it. If you are or were a Degrassi fan, then this is a must-read!

Author Linda Schuyler was the writer, creator and director of Degrassi, and she weaves a great story in her memoir, taking us through the idea and concept of Degrassi, the difficulty of being a woman in television in the 70s, life lessons, infertility and acceptance of people where they are at. Linda has always been a champion of teenagers since she started as a junior high school teacher and made her first film. Linda takes us through her journey of wanting to be in film, but having few opportunities, teaching to make ends meet, and making her very first film, Between Two Worlds using real children in her class to discuss racism and the difficulty of being from somewhere else and trying to fit in. She championed using real children and teens, people that were relatable even when she had to fight with her funders to get the episodes made. She always made sure to fight for important storylines that affected teenagers including teen pregnancy, abortion and the difficult choices women must make. I think that’s part of what made Degrassi so special to me, is that the teens were people I could see myself knowing and seeing that struggles and difficult experiences in life happened to everyone.

She calls Degrassi, “the world’s longest running anti-bullying campaign” and I would agree. Degrassi has repeatedly tackled everything from teen pregnancy, and the AIDS epidemic, to gay and gender-fluid storylines with grace and empathy. This was a very interesting read, full of nostalgia and pride in Canadian television. There are pictures threaded throughout the book, making it easy to see the progression and realness of this journey towards making this epic and important show.

Linda Schuyler is the executive producer and co-creator of over 500 episodes of the multi-award-winning Degrassi television franchise. She is a mentor and guest lecturer and maintains an active involvement in community and professional organizations. Linda is a member of both the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario. She lives in Toronto, ON.

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ ECW Press (Nov. 15 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 275 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1770416838
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1770416833

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Laurie Burns

Laurie Burns is an English as additional language teacher to immigrants, literacy volunteer and voracious reader living in Dartmouth.

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