Tuesday, March 20, 2007

RAISIN WINE by James Bartleman (2007)

Ontario's Lieutenant General has penned this charming memoir about growing up in a different Muskoka during the 40s and early 50s. The title refers to the homebrew that Jimmy's Scottish dad concocts and serves to the locals out behind their outhouse as liberally as he does his stories. Raised in poverty by loving parents and having faced racist taunts of "half-breed" throughout his childhood because his mother is Native and his father is white, we follow the plucky and determined 7-13 year-old Jimmy as he schemes to break the cycle by taking on jobs as a paperboy and later as a scrap metal collector.

Written with honesty and true affection for another time and place in spite of its challenges, RAISIN WINE is worth your time.

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