Rose Addams by Margie Taylor

When deciding on which books I might like to review for The Miramichi Reader, I consider a few things: summary, genre, am I really the most appropriate person on the team for this (I might be interested in learning more about British Columbia grapes or hiking trails of the Yukon, but I actually know nothing about them now and so am not the best person to review), is there something drawing me to this title, and the cover.

Rose Addams was funny, charming, and entertaining.”

In the case of Rose Addams, the synopsis was a draw, but the cover! Look at the cover! Is that not beautiful? I’m here to tell you that cover design matters. But in addition to the cover, Rose Addams pulled me in with its synopsis, covering the rapidly deteriorating family life of a woman in her early sixties, who no longer feels wholly in touch with the world. This is very low stakes, ultimately: it’s the story of a short period of time in Rose’s life and nothing truly dire and dramatic happens. It’s about what we imagine to be the average ebb and flow of life of nice upper middle class white people. It’s pleasant, it’s almost calming in the dramas of Rose’s world, and it’s sweet.

Rose is a late-career public librarian, while her husband Charles is a history professor. Their daughter Morgan is working on her dissertation in Toronto and engaged to Ian, who works in the film industry. Their son Jason is a lawyer, and his girlfriend, Lee, is a health coach (and sort of abrasive). Charles’ best friend Garnet has a new girlfriend who is young enough to be his granddaughter. Okay, fine. But just as Rose works on fitting that piece into their lives, everything else begins to fall apart: Morgan dumps Ian, quits her PhD and moves home. Charles announces, without telling her first, that he’s retired from the university. And then Rose runs into Ryan, the son of their former nanny, who lived with them for a year after his mother disappeared. Ryan’s return to their lives re-opens his friendship with Morgan, and Rose can’t keep up with the changing and moods around her. But she has to, somehow, right?

Rose Addams was funny, charming, and entertaining. Who are we when we become invisible to the world, as many women become as they age? How can we love our families when they’re the ones driving us nuts? And the friends we have in our lives, either because we love them, someone we love loves them, or inertia – how do we deal with their spiralling bad decisions? Taylor gives us a bemused, quietly bold book in the form of a woman reflecting on her life as she enters her later decades, and as someone who is moving into a period in her life where she’s interested in narratives about women aging, Ross Adams hit the spot.

Margie Taylor grew up in Thunder Bay, attended Lakehead University, and began her radio career there. As a CBC Radio host and producer, she hosted regional and national radio programs, and appeared on arts and entertainment programs across Canada. She’s the author of three novels: Harrow RoadDisplaced Persons, and Some of Skippy’s Blues, as well as a collection of humorous essays, and a compilation of book reviews. Currently, she lives in Coquitlam where she teaches ESL and is working on a novel based on the life of her mother.

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ NeWest Press (April 15 2023)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 310 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1774390698
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1774390696

 -- Website

Alison Manley has ricocheted between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia for most of her life. Now in Halifax, Nova Scotia, she is the Cataloguing and Metadata Librarian at Saint Mary's University. Her past life includes a long stint as a hospital librarian on the banks of the mighty Miramichi River. She has an honours BA in political science and English from St. Francis Xavier University, and a Master of Library and Information Studies from Dalhousie University. While she's adamant that her love of reading has nothing to do with her work, her ability to consume large amounts of information very quickly sure is helpful. She is often identified by her very red lipstick, and lives with her partner Brett and cat, Toasted Marshmallow.