Come, Thou Tortoise by Jessica Grant

Someone posted this as one of their favourite books by a Canadian female author, I believe, on cbc books’ Canada reads. I see that it is now one of the top 40 “essential Canadian novels of the decade.” Awesome.

I found the book a bit difficult to get into, at first, since it is a bit slower paced. I was immediately drawn, however, to how Grant has written the main character’s voice. While living happily with her pet tortoise, Winnifred, in Portland OR, Audrey gets word that her father has been knocked unconscious and is now in a coma. She reluctantly leaves Winnifred with some friends and, despite her fear of flying, gets on a plane to Newfoundland. Upon returning home, she finds that her memories don’t quite line up with reality. Her adventure unfolds as she discovers who her family members really are, and strives to reunite with Winnifred.

The story jumps around in time quite a bit, which I found mildly disruptive (and which was probably partly why it took me so long to get into the book) at first, but I think it really serves the story later on. There are some unusual plot twists that unfold, which I think wouldn’t have been so surprising if the story were told in a linear chronological manner. I really thought Grant did a great job of demonstrating how her main character is stronger than she thinks.

I also read The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares, which I picked up at the giant used book sale in Victoria a few weeks ago. It was a quick, engaging read. I’ve just learned that this is a series, and there are four books. I knew there was at least one more book, because there are two movies, but I had no idea there were four!

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