The Odette Barr Interview

The Canadian North: I’ve always been entranced by stories about the early explorers, ships trapped in the ice, men forced to survive through a harsh winter (and they often didn’t), as well as learning about the peoples who did live there year-round and did survive, for centuries until our present day. Odette Barr’s Teaching at the Top of The World (2020, Pottersfield Press) is a memoir of her time living and teaching in Canada’s Far North, specifically Grise Fiord, Nunavut, which, despite its low population, it is the largest community and only public community on Ellesmere Island.…

Saltwater Chronicles: Notes on Everything Under the Nova Scotia Sun by Lesley Choyce

Lesley Choyce has been a mainstay on the Atlantic Canadian literary scene for decades. The author of 100 books, he has written and published in every genre imaginable. He has won and been shortlisted for numerous regional and national literary awards, operates a publishing house, held teaching positions at Dalhousie University and other institutions, and worked as a television presenter. He is an environmentalist, a humanitarian, a surfer, a husband and father, and a tireless advocate for Atlantic Canadian writing and writers.…

You Won’t Always Be This Sad: A Book of Moments by Sheree Fitch

Everyone experiences grief in their own way.  Sheree Fitch is a writer and it made perfect sense for her to write about a mother’s deepest grief – the loss of a child.  Within the pages of this book, Sheree shares thoughts and emotions in a continuous poem broken up between pages with the style changing throughout.   

Sheree uses many forms of free verse to communicate her grief. …

From the Ashes by Jesse Thistle

These days I’ve been thinking about the importance of being able to recognize your self and your people in the literature you are reading and that’s one of the most important offerings from Jesse Thistle’s memoir From the Ashes. Of course, his story should be read by all non-Indigenous people who want to understand the impacts of intergenerational colonial trauma among Indigenous people living in Canada today.…

Awakening My Heart by Andrea Miller

From Andrea Miller comes a diverse collection of essays, articles, and interviews. Miller, whose writing is by turns earnest and irreverent, unadorned and lyrical, talks to Buddhist teachers, thinkers, writers, and celebrities about the things that matter most and frames their wisdom with her own lived experience.

In this engaging, deftly written book, Andrea Miller shares a collection of interviews, essays and observations experienced during her ongoing practice of Buddhism.…

When the Bartender Dims the Lights, storytelling after 80 by Ron Evans

When the Bartender Dims the Lights, storytelling after 80 by Ron Evans contains “bits and pieces of memory that managed to snag on the fence line and make a story because they sounded right.” A combination of memoir, parable, and wisdom gleaned throughout his life, Evans’ book reflects on the human condition and the complexities of aging.

The stories are brief, ranging from one to seven pages, easy to read in a short time, but each contains a nugget to ponder.…

One Good Reason: A Memoir of Addiction and Recovery, Music and Love by Séan McCann and Andrea Aragon

a fan of Séan McCann. Bought his music. Saw him perform with Great Big Sea. Had a joyous time, singing myself hoarse. Now I’ve read One Good Reason* – his collaborative memoir – enticingly structured, chapters alternating between spouse-authors McCann and Andrea Aragon.

From McCann’s passage Losing My Religion: I left Newfoundland an innocent kid. A virgin. I came back with the burden of a dark secret that would haunt my entire life, and a thirst for liquor that would help drown it out.

Through Sunlight and Shadows by Raymond Fraser

Sadly, Through Sunlight and Shadows would prove to be Raymond Fraser’s swan song, as he passed away just a few short months after its publication. It is his fourteenth book of fiction and is an all-new volume of “memoirs” of his fictional/semi-autobiographical character, Walt Macbride. While regular readers of Mr. Fraser’s will be familiar with Walt in all his manifestations, his youngest days growing up in Bannonbridge (an alias for Chatham, NB) are lesser-known.…

Long Ago and Far Away by Wayne Curtis

Perhaps you have to be from rural New Brunswick (even the Miramichi) to fully understand Mr. Curtis’ past, his father’s and his grandfather’s lives lived on a farm where you logged some trees for money, grew some crops to feed yourselves and your old mare Jenny and lived in a house with no running water, no indoor plumbing, and little to no insulation.…

The Dwindling: A Daughter’s Caregiving Journey to the Edge of Life by Janet Dunnett

The Dwindling (2017, Journeys Press) is a unique book in the Health/Memoir genre for it is written by one-half of a “Twin Team” of identical twin sisters that endeavoured to care for their aged parents, the father with dementia, the mother with multiple health problems, pain being the primary one that caused her the most discomfort, and down the road, caused her to be bed-ridden.…

The Back Road and Beyond by Robert McKay

Miramichi author Robert McKay is back with another self-published volume of personal stories to follow-up on his 2010 book The Back Road. That book was a look back at life growing up in Newcastle (now part of the amalgamated city of Miramichi) in the 1940’s and 50’s. They are for the most part humorous recollections, being composed of the type of adventures to be had by a young lad and his friends in a simpler, carefree time.…

Something of Me by Paul O’Neill

I had a difficult time deciding between 3 stars and 4 for this book at Goodreads. Perhaps 3.5? At any rate, I enjoyed reading this book more than I thought I would, which is always a nice surprise. I had never heard of Paul O’Neill before receiving this review copy, but after finishing the book, Mr. O’Neill comes across as a genuinely likeable man, something well attested to by thoughts from Edward Roberts (who wrote the foreword), his writing assistant Myra Colborne and finally, his niece Rene to whom he bequeathed his unfinished memoirs from which this book has resulted.…

Confessions of a Mountie by Frank Pitts

Subtitled Behind the Red Serge, retired RCMP Officer Frank Pitts, a veteran of 32 years with the Mounties, tells his story in dramatic fashion in this 2016 Flanker Press publication. Born in the small community of Freshwater, Bell Island Newfoundland, Frank joined the force in 1981 and had twelve different posting assignments, from the west coast to the east, where is now retired, living in Newfoundland and Labrador.…

This is Not My Life by Diane Schoemperlen

Subtitled “a memoir of love, prison, and other complications” award-winning author Diane Schoemperlen has penned a powerful and very personal account of the adversities of maintaining a relationship with a convicted murderer for almost six years.

The Meet

Historic Kingston, Ontario is a beautiful university city located where the St. Lawrence River meets Lake Ontario. It is also the home to a number of federal correctional institutions that run the spectrum from maximum to minimum security.…

Travels with Farley by Claire Mowat

can be great fun to read, or they can be boringly self-indulgent. It all depends on the memoirist. In Claire Mowat’s Travels with Farley (2015 Pottersfield Press), we have a surprisingly candid, friendly and concise memoirist as the late Canadian author Farley Mowat’s wife takes us through a whirlwind tour of their years together from 1969 to about 1976, shortly after they left Newfoundland and to the time they settled in Cape Breton.…