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Monthly Archives: October 2009

Catch and Release – a drive-by review

Here is a review I did of a novel written for 9-12 year olds. I had to be overly positive about the book, it is more of a blurb. So, addendum…I thought that men interested in 1960’s hockey would read this book. The descriptions went on way too long for a kid to stay engaged. I have taught long enough to know that to go into detail about the 1960’s is going to bore the average reader. Just my .02.

“The Adventures of Caraway Kim…Right Wing”

by Don Truckey

Published by Thistledown Press

Review by Kim McCullough

$10.95 ISBN 978-1-897235-43-0

Set in the dead of a 1960’s Alberta winter, “The Adventures of Caraway Kim…Right Wing” is the story of eleven-year-old Kim and his race to become Top Scorer of the Caraway hockey team. To win, he has to beat Brad Rooks, the local troublemaker. The boys’ rivalry continues off-ice, forcing Kim to confront his own sense of right and wrong, as well as stand up for himself against Brad’s overbearing ways. In Kim, Truckey has created a likeable young hero who makes realistic choices.

Truckey’s clear rendering of a time he calls “before now” makes life in the 1960’s come alive. Young hockey fans interested in the old days of the Original Six will be thrilled with the detailed descriptions of the difficulties players faced back in those days: the rough ice; the biting cold; and the thin, not-so-protective equipment that left heads, knees and throats vulnerable to injury. The play-by-play action of the hockey games will keep young readers engaged and interested.

“The Adventures of Caraway Kim…Right Wing” is more than just a sentimental journey back to “the good old days” before indoor rinks and Zambonis. Truckey weaves the weightier issues of bullying and shoplifting into the story, challenges that are still relevant to today’s youth. He does not whitewash Kim’s struggles with Brad, but allows him to work through and resolve them in a way that is both satisfying and believable.



The Peep Diaries – Hal Niedzviecki

Catch of the Day

The Peep Diaries

by Hal Niedzevicki
I have always had a little crush on Hal, founder of Broken Pencil. I like the way he takes risks when choosing fiction. I always laugh out loud at the stories posted on the website, and wish I could be that fresh and original.
So when I heard Oprah say that The Peep Diaries made it on to her Top 25 Must-read Books of the Year I knew I had to support the independent Canadian writer…and the subject matter sounded interesting and au courant.
The Peep Diaries is compelling. Like the proverbial accident scene, you cannot look away from this trip down the rabbit hole. People want to be watched. We are always performing, and as Hal points out, some people can take it to the extreme. The part that is cringe-inducing is how similar the everyday’s mom’s motivation is to the everyday-mom-who-likes-her-daily-spanking’s motivation.
The intrepid Hal decides to enter this Peep culture via various networking sites (facebook, Twitter), he starts a blog, and he chases down reality-show alumni to get their take on why we are so fascinated by the car crash that plays out in front of our eyes.
It is uncomfortable in a way , because we are all rightfully painted with the same brush-some just lightly shaded, others with the gloppiness slopped on. It is interesting though, how those who are glopped, can see that they are, but don’t care.
It is an extension of EGAM-everyone gets a medal. Or, as your mom told you, you can do whatever you set your mind to… The Peep Diaries explores the concept of oversharing, because we think people actually give a shit. When really, they are just waiting for us to release a titillating tidbit, to fall flat on our faces.
Throughout the book, you get the feeling that Hal is lamenting this whole culture…but go to his blog, he is still “researching”…
Hal will be at Wordfest in Calgary and Banff the week of October 13th.