Reading by Lightning

I loved this book. But it’s really weird because I can’t tell you why. It’s just a really good read. Was it the writing, the characters, the setting? I think it was everything, all perfectly blended together like some tasty food you just to have more of (I’m always thinking of food eh.). Reading by Lightning by Joan Thomas (published by Goose Lane) just won the First Novel Award and I am not surprised. Not once was I even tempted to put it aside and or give up. The story starts out with Lily Piper and her family living on the drought-ravaged Prairies in Nebo, Manitoba.  With the death of her Grandfather, Lily is sent to England to care for her Grandmother and is immersed in a world so foreign to her very religious, small town Canadian family.  Thomas is able to weave multiple stories together effortlessly, telling us the story of Lily’s father and his journey to Canada, being scammed by a lure of land, deeds, and a life full of opportunity, and Lily’s life from Manitoba to England, where she lives a life totally foreign to her family back home. With the outbreak of World War II Lily is forced to  return to Nebo to look after her recently-widowed mother and a life that isn’t much different from when she left. It’s a wonderful story. The prose seemed to flow easily, and kept my interest – I wanted to know more about what happens to Lily. And things didn’t always turn out the way you think they would, and sometimes we’re left wondering. I liked that in this book.

Since I wrote the above, this book has also won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book, Canada and the Caribbean AND the Manitoba Reads Book of the Year, AND has been nominated for the 2010 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.

See… I told you it was good!!

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