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If you write a book review, and no one reads it, is the prose still stunning?

I’ve wanted to talk about book reviews for a while. There are a couple of specific things on my mind, like the idea that book reviews are too positive, or that reviews must be critical, or diversity in book reviews. But, as my son would say, “put first things first*.” Do people even read book reviews?

 

Book reviews are dead. No one reads them and they don’t sell books.

This statement was (falsely) attributed to Edmonton author Todd Babiak by his former English professor, Ted Bishop. Todd was helping Ted launch his new book Ink at LitFest back in October. A vetern book-launcher, Todd’s advice was to forget trying to get the book reviewed, that he better create something shareable if he wants to get anywhere. And he did; Ted and Todd filmed a cooking-show-style demonstration of how to make your own ink and we served as the studio audience. We even got to use a mortar and pestle! Talk about reader engagement!

I laughed at the thought that no one reads book reviews, but I laughed because it’s true. The only people who comment on book blogs, reviews especially, are other book bloggers. And as for traditional reviews in the newspaper or literary journals? I don’t even read them. I’ve become a reverse-snob when it comes to book reviews; I find a lot of “straight” reviews boring. They’re all plot summary or this:

Lately, I just don’t care about the luminous prose etc. I want to know what a book did to the reviewer. If you cried, or laughed inappropriately, I want to know. I want to hear how a book reflects personal experience.

Despite my own misgivings about book reviews, I still thought Todd made a pretty bold statement, so I went to the source. Luckily Todd Babiak is super nice and accessible, and he immediately told me that he never said those words. Ted exaggerated. He has noticed that a prominent review in The Globe and Mail, though, doesn’t exactly give a book the lift it once did. Things are changing. Todd remembers when there were 19 professional reviewers employed by newspapers in Canada. Now there are just a handful.

There are plenty of people trying to make book reviews fresh and exciting. The National Post runs a weekly feature in The Afterword, where readers get a book to read and then fill out a survey. I did one earlier this year. It’s a nice feature, but it’s not really a review (plus their book choices are weird.) And there are all the almost-review formats we bloggers use: hauls and monthly wrap-ups and so on. But reviews they ain’t.

This isn’t news to book bloggers. James Reads Books blogged about this a couple months ago. I like his challenge to read more reviews, but, should we even need a challenge? Isn’t that why we’re all here?

So, dear readers (who I assume are all book bloggers,) I want to know: Do you read book reviews? Where do you read them: on other blogs, the newspaper, or somewhere else? How are your stats when you post a review?

As for Ink, I haven’t seen that video kicking around YouTube, but I did see a nice review in The Walrus. Maybe there’s hope for the book review after all.

*My son is in Kindergarten and they are learning the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, of which this is one. I have a five year old who tells me to “syngergize” and “be proactive.” This is weird, right?

A Reading Soundtrack: Part IV

Once again, I am inspired by Rory at Fourth Street Review.  She mixes it up this time by taking one album and picking a whole bunch of books that fit the theme. I’m doing my usual thing: one book, one song.

The Book: Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
The Song: We Are Shadows by Leaves

Burial_Ritesleaves

Now comes the darkening sky and a cold wind that passes right through you, as though you are not there, it passes through you as though it does not care whether you are alive or dead, for you will be gone and the wind will still be there.

This book snuck up on me. I was skeptical from the get go; there was too much hype. I still think it’s overrated, but by the end, the overwrought quality of the writing fell away and it became as spare and beautiful as I heard it was.

I resisted the urge to pair Burial Rites with Bjork. I’ve already used a Bjork song for one of these posts, for one thing, and it’s just too obvious. So I sought out the music of the one other Icelandic band I know – Leaves. Like most North Americans, I discovered Leaves when their song Breathe was featured on The O.C. Leaves have put out a few albums since then, and We Are Shadows from their 2009 album of the same name is absolutely perfect. Agnes has been a shadow her entire life.

Hold my hand
as we let go
and northern lights
will fill the skies

Until the morning glows
Weʼre shadows, me and you.

The Book: Infidelity by Stacey May Fowles
The Song: Habits by Tove Lo

infidelitytovelo

This song isn’t a great fit for the plot. The book is about a woman in a stable but boring relationship who knows she isn’t cut out for the straight and narrow, so she has an affair with a married writer who is all kinds of wrong for her. The song is about a heartbroken woman who’s trying to fuck the pain away. The common thread is recklessness. And sordidness: there’s a great passage in Infidelity about how you begin an affair in fancy hotel rooms and work your way down, till you’re alone in a seedy motel. And Tove Lo is super sordid:

Pick up daddies at the playground
How I spend my day time
Loosen up the frown,
Make them feel alive
Oh, make it fast and greasy
I’m numb and way too easy

I admit, this is another one of those songs I love to sing in the car. Usually alone, sometimes accompanied by my two year old who loves to sing the “ooh ooh ooh ooh” part.

In writing this, I remembered that I don’t own Infidelity. I will probably change that. My last “affair” was much lower stakes than this, seeing as there were no marriages or kids involved, but Fowles gets that sickly sweet feeling just right.

B is for Bookstravaganza

Ordinarily things like #GivingTuesday annoy me. Like, we already have a perfectly good day with “giving” already in it, can’t we use that? But today it works in my favour. I’m doing Bookstravaganza this year and I hope to convince a few people to give to Edmonton Public Library’s Welcome Baby Program.

I wrote about the Welcome Baby program and what it means to me here.

I wrote about Bookstravaganza last year. It’s basically a readathon with a charity component.

Find out how to donate here. You can donate a set amount, or pledge an amount per book I read & review this month. My goal is ten books and that’s pretty optimistic, so this doesn’t have to cost you much.

Here are the books I’m going to read:

What, me worry?

What, me worry?

If nothing else, follow the Bookstravaganza blog for daily mini-reviews of interesting books. Some of these people are crazy, or possibly on drugs, because they’ve already finished multiple books and it’s day two! Cheer me on, guys!

Novellas in November 2014 Update #2: Santa Rosa, North East, Bartleby the Scrivener

Fuckin' A.

Fuckin’ A.

Check out my introductory post here, and follow along with participants The Wandering Bibliophile and Write Reads.

Santa Rosa and North East by Wendy McGrath
My rating: 2.5/5 stars
Goodreads

I’m new to verse novels and I don’t think they’re my thing. I enjoyed Karma by Cathy Ostlere, which was very structured and straightforward, but I struggle with books like these, or, like Corey Greathouse’s Another Name of Autumn, which tend more towards stream of consciousness. Kind of verse, kind of not. I can’t find the right pace for reading and I lose track of the story.

The subject matter, and the characters, and the setting, are all of interest to me. In Santa Rosa and North East, we witness the crumbling of a marriage and an Edmonton neighbourhood through the eyes of a five year old. Child narrators are tricky. At times Christine seemed too savvy for her age, too empathetic maybe. I can’t help but compare to my own five year old. Maybe there are depths to him that I don’t see yet.

There is a third book coming, to complete the trilogy. I will probably read it, as the story is compelling enough that I want to find out what happens to Christine (I already know what happens to Santa Rosa; the neighbourhood isn’t there anymore.) I found North East a smoother read than the first, so maybe I’ll hit my stride at last.

Bartleby the Scrivener by Herman Melville
My rating: 5/5 stars
Goodreads

Hypothesis: Bartleby the Scrivener is the inspiration for the classic 1999 film Office Space.

Evidence:

  • Bartleby “would prefer not to.” Peter Gibbons’s “just not gonna go.”
  • Bartleby regularly stares out the window (which looks out on a brick wall.) Peter “spaces out” for about an hour every morning. “It looks like I’m working, but I’m not.”
  • The less Bartleby and Peter do, the more their respective workplaces do for them. Bartelby’s boss assumes there’s something wrong with his eyes, and tries to be compassionate. The Bobs deem Peter a “straight shooter with upper management written all over him.”
  • Bartleby’s quirky colleagues would totally take out a printer. “PC Load Letter? The fuck does that mean?”
  • Bartleby also has much in common with Milton. Once fired, he simply won’t leave and hangs about in the stairwell. Milton ends up in the basement taking care of that little cockroach problem.
  • Oh, and Bartleby works in what may be the first cubicle ever. “I procured a high green folding screen, which might entirely isolate Bartleby from my sight, though not remove him from my voice.” As Peter says, “Human beings were not meant to sit in little cubicles staring at computer screens all day, filling out useless forms and listening to eight different bosses drone on about mission statements!”

Both the book and the movie are a meditation on doing nothing, but end very differently. There’s no “fuckin’ A” coming for poor Bartelby. I don’t know what else to say; this book was amazing. Hilarious and weird and sad and strangely relevant to all the office drones out there, 160 years later.

I seem to have run out of November! I finished one more novella and aim to review that in the coming days. Tell me, whether you read along or not, what’s your favourite novella? Or, what’s your favourite line to quote from Office Space? Mine is “this place… is nice,” which is great for breaking an awkward silence.

Novellas in November 2014 Update #1: Giovanni’s Room, Rip Van Winkle, and Who Will Run The Frog Hospital

A literal take on the title: Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? by Lorrie Moore

A literal take on the title: Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? by Lorrie Moore

The month’s coming to an end, so the updates will be fast and furious. Check out my introductory post here, and follow along with participants The Wandering Bibliophile and Write Reads.

Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin
My rating: 4/5 stars
Goodreads

I had high expectations for James Baldwin after some coverage of his book Another Country on Booktube, and Giovannis’ Room did not disappoint, but, my enthusiasm waned near the end of the book. It was such a strong start, with a voice and a character who was so immediate and believable but still somehow removed – David’s name is hardly ever used in the book, and I would often forget his name altogether – and the back story about his family is so touching. Somehow, the sordidness and violence that come later just didn’t do it for me (and I appreciate sordidness and violence in fiction!)

I would compare Giovanni’s Room to The Great Gatsby and Bonjour Tristesse in both form and content. All three  pack so much into so few pages. All three have captured their home countries’ imagination. All three are about sex and class and people who are never quite enough. This won’t be the last Baldwin book I read.

Oh, and I learned that France only stopped executing people by guillotine in 1977. I thought the references to the guillotine were symbolic or metaphor or something at first. Yikes.

Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving
My rating: 3/5 stars
Goodreads

Rip Van Winkle is a cute story. I chose it because it was the basis for a plot arc on Classic Alice, but I didn’t get much out of the story or those episodes of CA. It’s good knowledge to have though; how many people know anything about Rip Van Winkle other than he slept for a long time? I thought he was supposed to have slept for a hundred years or something, but it was only twenty. The whole thing was about the American Revolution. Also, there were ghosts getting drunk and bowling. I did not know that.

I would recommend it to anyone interested in this time period, or American literature. Check out a free version. It’s funny and very short.

Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? by Lorrie Moore
My rating: 4/5 stars
Goodreads

Sometimes I wonder if teenage pregnancy is a very common topic in literary fiction, and that’s why it comes up in books I read so often, or if I’m somehow drawn to these books. Either way, these stories tend to work their way into my heart. This one sure did.

Berie and Sils were too young for all the good stuff that happened in the late 60s, and are stuck coming of age in the time of Vietnam and Nixon. They’re just the same age as my parents, actually, and I too relate – my parents just missed Woodstock, and I just missed Woodstock 94 (the latter’s probably a good thing.) The struggles are the same, though – I kept placing the story in the 90s, rather than the 70s, because it felt so immediate and relevant to my teenage years.

This is a coming of age story, but we get a glimpse of Berie as a young adult, reunited with Sils at their 10 year high school reunion, and another look, just a flash, really, of Berie as a middle aged woman with an unfaithful husband. There’s a sense of disconnection between these three version of Berie, but the story never feels disconnected.

I hesitated when rating this book 4 stars. It’s really a 4.5, or a 4.9. I love that moment when you read a big name author for the first time and you GET IT immediately. Lorrie Moore is the real deal. Highly recommended.

Tell me, are you Novella-ing this November? What are you reading? 

For Caitlin on her 32nd birthday: Books to read in Hong Kong and Minnesota

My sister Caitlin turned 32 yesterday. In four days, she leaves for a solo trip to Hong Kong. It will be her last trip for a while. In a couple months, she’ll marry her American boyfriend and will be a Minnesotan housewife until she’s able to work. This is not the life I imagined for Cait, who up until a few years ago called herself a “freemale,” but “Uncle Tony” is good with my kids AND joins all my readalongs, so he’s worthy.

The hours of travel and coming months of desperate housewifedom mean that I must buy books for Cait’s birthday. But the upcoming move makes it impractical to buy physical books, so I’ve bought a couple Kindle gift cards and compiled these lists:

What to read in Hong Kong

crazyrichsharksfinpianoteacher

  • Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan: Satirizing the ultra-rich ABC (American Born Chinese) culture in the States, parts of this book are set in Hong Kong and it sounds like a perfect fluffy read for the airplane. Bet these guys don’t fly coach.
  • Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper by Fuchsia DunlopBased on this review, and because Cait is a sometime food blogger, and this is sub-titled “A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China.” Might help her get ready for some Chinese food that doesn’t include chicken balls.
  • The Piano Teacher by Janice Yee: Recommended by Doretta Lau (her own book. How Does a Single Blade of Grass Thank The Sun looks pretty sweet,) The Piano Teacher is another novel about rich people in Hong Kong, but sounds quite different from Crazy Rich Asians. It’s got some historical flavour.

What to read in Minnesota

thegrouptendermainstreet

  • The Group by Mary McCarthy: A tenuous connection to Minnesota, as the author only spent part of her childhood there, but as Canadians we’re used to claiming anyone we can, so. This is also supposed to be the inspiration for Sex and the City.
  • Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald: because I assume she’s read The Great Gatsby! (Right??)
  • Main Street by Sinclair Lewis: Lewis is the first American to win the Nobel Prize for literature, so I guess he must be okay. I admit I know nothing about him. This book is set in Minnesota and is about a woman who moves to another city for her man, so it might be of interest.

Bonus: What to read when you’re getting married

lovelettersfreedom thebridestripped

  • Love Letters of the Angels of Death by Jennifer Quist (my review): I want everyone who’s getting married, or is married, to read this book. It made me think about my marriage and the concept of marriage and other stuff.
  • Freedom by Jonathan Franzen (my review): I make fun of Franzen often here on the blog, but this book is really good. It’s about ‘Murca and marriage and there’s a lengthy rant about the child free lifestyle that I know Cait will appreciate.
  • The Bride Stripped Bare by Anonymous: okay, the author’s been revealed, but my edition is by Anonymous. Take this as a “here is what you shouldn’t do” guide to marriage. Disturbing and racy and one of the odder books I’ve read.

We will all miss Auntie Cait in this house, and not just for the free babysitting. She accompanies me to book events and joins me in readalongs and has taught me a lot about vegan cooking, among many other things. I will never repay her for all the drives she’s given me nor all the Maid of Honouring or Baby Showering, but I hope we can keep up with food and books even if it’s through Skype.

Henry and Auntie Cait

Henry and Auntie Cait

Currently…

Adapted from Fourth Street Review and further inspired by A Slice of Brie:

crow

Making: Anything Chef at Home tells me to. Especially these biscuits. But especially these brownies, which won me second prize at a community bake-off.
Drinking: Store brand mint tea.
Reading: Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin. I’m getting Bonjour Tristesse and The Great Gatsby vibes.
Coveting: Wolford Velvet de Luxe 66 Tights, after reading this article about the best tights. You get what you pay for.
Listening: Whatever’s playing on CBC Radio 2. I like the new Hozier song. I also like Hozier himself. Let’s not dwell on the fact that he was born in the 90s. Also this classical mix for at work.
Watching: Booktube. I’m looking forward to watching the Wolf Hall adaptation with Damien Lewis as Henry VIII. It’s like The Tudors meets The Forsyte Saga!
Smelling: Chicken broth simmering and cookies baking. I’m repressing some powerful emotions tonight.

spaceman
Wishing:  For time alone that doesn’t involve a grocery store or a cubicle.
Enjoying: Fires and hot chocolate. Winter arrived this weekend.
Loving: Getting back to blogging after a month off and jumping right into Novellas in November.
Needing: To figure out how to fit in my introvert-recharging-time. Work is very busy with meetings and presentations, which I find extremely draining. Home is, well, a two year old and a four year old who need constant supervision, assurance, guidance, and refereeing. I’ve taken to waking up at 5am to have some time alone.
Feeling: A bit scattered.
Wearing: Leggings as pants. Come at me, fashion people.snow

Wanting: To start writing in a journal. I’ve been trying, but it’s a tough habit to form.
BookmarkingThink pieces on book reviews, as I get ready to write my own.
Aiming: To find a balance between planning and doing, here on the blog, at work, at home. When it comes to things I’m most passionate about, I get stuck in the planning phase. When it comes to things I *have* to do, I just jump in, to get it over with. Neither extreme is working too well.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Novellas in November 2014: Introduction

If you’ve been browsing round the bookish internet lately, you’ve probably heard a lot about what you should be reading in November:

Obviously these bloggers are all wrong. How can November be for anything other than Novellas? Alliteration doesn’t lie.

Last year, I had a blast reading classic and contemporary novellas all month. I even made a video. Maybe this year I’ll do one as a wrap up? It’s unlikely, now that I know what good book videos look like.

Anyway, on to my novellas!

novellas2014

  1. Tumble Home by Amy Hempel: based on the review here. “Reading it or any of her work is the surest way I know, besides having/watching a baby, to make life separate into moments.” Okay. Let’s see.
  2. Santa Rosa by Wendy McGrath: local author, local setting, sequel published a week ago, and this month’s #yegbookclub pick. No brainer.
  3. Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin. My favourite novella last year was Bonjour Tristesse. This is another coming of age story set in France, and 19 pages in I’m already predicting 5 stars.
  4. Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? by Lorrie Moore. For the title, obviously.
  5. Varamo by Cesar Aira. He seems to be the guy to read if you like novellas.
  6. Bartleby, the Scrivener by Herman Melville. I don’t know what it’s about, but the oft-quoted line “I would prefer not to” really speaks to me.
  7. Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving: it’s the current read on Classic Alice. I love Classic Alice even though none of these actors appear to be college age, and despite the fact that Alice and Andrew would have humped by episode 3 in real life. It’s like if Felicity was even more repressed. At least Alice doesn’t wear those awful sweaters.

This year The Wandering Bibliophile is joining in with two impressive towers of novellas. Perhaps the elusive originator of #NovNov will come out of hiding this month!

Please comment below with your novellas recommendations, reading plans, or favourite episodes of Classic Alice or Felicity. I’m going to have to think about that one.

Back from the DNF: The English Patient, A Wrinkle in Time, and The Sisters Brothers

DNF

DNF: abbreviation 1. Did Not Finish 2. The book blogger kiss of death

In Back from the DNF, I give previously DNF’d books a second chance, because sometimes, it’s not the book, it’s me. Maybe I read it too young. Maybe I read it while pregnant or postpartum (baby brain is real!) Maybe it just wasn’t the right time.

I made a list of books that didn’t get a fair shake, and will reread and review to see if anything’s changed. If you want to join me, feel free to steal the concept, title, and sweet banner.

My DNF List:

  • Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne: Pregnancy brain
  • Tinker Tailor Solider Spy by John LeCarre: Baby brain
  • The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje: Too young (22)
  • The House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubuois III: Too young (20)
  • Fifth Business by Robertson Davies: Too young (17)
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle: Too young (10)

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje

Michael Ondaatje is my bae. Did I say that right?

Michael Ondaatje is my bae. Did I say that right?


My official reason for DNFing The English Patient is “too young,” but at 22, that’s a bit of a stretch. I was an adult. I was living on my own and working at a real job. I was also single after five years of serial monogamy, and in my newfound freedom my maturity level plummeted. I was consumed by shopping, clubbing, and boys for a couple years. Thankfully this was before the advent of social media. I shudder to think of the bar-bathroom selfies that never were.

I tried to keep up appearances in my reading, though. I read a lot of DH Lawrence, Thomas Hardy, and Jane Austen around this time. I picked up The English Patient thinking it was a “serious” book in this vein, and it is serious, but it’s very different from those old-school classics. You can’t just plow through it and you can’t rely on your memory of other similar books because there aren’t any. I don’t know how to classify The English Patient – adventure, romance, a little magical realism, post-colonial literature, war literature, English, Canadian, Indian… I don’t know. On first read, I was overwhelmed and couldn’t follow the threads. I gave up a few chapters in and hurled it into my closet. This time, I was overwhelmed in a good way, and again hurled the book with some violence on the bathroom counter (don’t judge, it was my kids’ bathtime) because the ending hurt my heart so much.

At 22 I couldn’t process this story. I thought I knew lots about love and tragedy and thought of myself as very jaded, but of course I didn’t and I wasn’t. Thankfully I grew up enough in eleven years to appreciate this book.

Verdict: It was me. 

Edition I read in 1991. I find this whole cover unsettling.

Edition I read in 1991. I find this whole cover unsettling.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
I read this children’s classic as a child, so I can’t just say I was “too young.” At ten, I was starting to read adults books (there was no such thing as YA (thank god)) and I remember picking up A Wrinkle in Time and thinking, well, it’s a kid’s book but it’s for smart kids. I was very invested in my identify as a smart kid, so when I couldn’t wrap my brain around what was happening in this book, it was embarrassing. Shameful. I was also disappointed that I’d never get to read A Swiftly Tilting Planet because it’s a great title.

What I didn’t get as a kid is that Wrinkle is a Christian allegory (I didn’t get that about Chronicles of Narnia either. Wasn’t as smart as I thought.) But I got it this time. Oh lord did I get it. And okay, I’m not religious, but I’m okay with religious themes in fiction (see?) if it’s well written.This just isn’t. A very thin story, stilted dialog that contributes little to the plot, and an author banging us over the head with her philosophy: it’s Atlas Shrugged for kids. And don’t get me started on the ending. All I can do is quote Professor Frink: “The secret ingredient is… love?! Who’s been screwing with this thing?”

I will give L’Engle props for the creepy kids who bounce balls and jump rope in sync. That shit creeped me out today as much as it did 24 years ago.

The verdict: it’s the book.

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt

My 4 year old loves this cover. He knows what's up.

My 4 year old loves this cover. He knows what’s up.


Alright, I’m cheating a bit. When I tossed The Sisters Brothers aside, I knew I would pick it up a few weeks later for book club. But I did toss it aside. I got about 20 pages in and couldn’t see what the fuss was about. I’m currently 200 and some pages in on round two and loving it. I can’t account for the change of heart. There`s one particular line that made me roll my eyes so hard the first time I read it, and now stands as my favourite in the whole book so far: the main character imagines his poor, sick horses’s thoughts, as he’s whipping him, to be, “sad life, sad life.”

I don’t know if it was a full moon or I was suffering from a case of the Mondays or what, the first time round. Now all I can do is join the chorus: read this book. Immediately. If you don’t like it, take a break for a few weeks and try, try again.

The verdict: it was me.

Alright, you know the drill: tell me about your second chance books, or tell me which books you’re thinking of trying again.

Spat the Dummy by Ed Macdonald: An Interview with The Bible Pimp (review + author Q&A)

spat the dummy

My rating: 4/5 stars
Goodreads
Synopsis:

Spat Ryan has demons. They haunt him by day and share his drink at night. Raised in Montreal by a bagman for the Irish mob, Spat has fictionalized or ignored chunks of his life too painful to recall. A chance meeting with an old friend of his father’s in a bar exposes the dark secret they’ve both been harboring, the secret that has shaped and defined Spat’s tumultuous life. Newly divorced and out of control, his decision to tell all and release himself from the past unleashes a storm of change in both his internal and external life.

I usually put my disclaimers at the end of a review, but this is a special case. I did not receive a review copy of this book, and I’ve never met the author, but he is known to me for two important reasons. First, his brother married my mom’s sister. If “uncle-in-law” was a thing, he would be mine. Second, he is THE BIBLE PIMP:

Ed Macdonald as The Bible Pimp. via quickmeme.com

Ed Macdonald appears in Trailer Park Boys as The Bible Pimp. via quickmeme.com

The Bible Pimp was one of my favourite episodes of Trailer Park Boys, even before I knew about the family connection. It’s a hilarious episode, but it’s a little different because Ricky and Julian win. They expose The Bible Pimp as a scam artist, and get to watch someone else get hauled off to jail for once.  Julian was in love with the Bible Pimp’s accomplice, though, and as she’s taken away, she sneers at him, “Fuck you, you greasy trailer park boy.” His face falls, and it’s one of the sadder moments of the show. For just a moment, all the Freedom 35 stuff falls away. He knows he’ll never be anything but a trailer park boy. I think it’s significant that it’s one of the only (maybe THE only) times the phrase “trailer park boy” appears in the series.

Sorry to those who didn’t come here for in-depth analysis of Trailer Park Boys. I’m going somewhere with this. The theme of escaping the past, and of become something else, or something more, than you were born into, is part of Spat’s story. Read more

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