4.5 stars. To me, this book is classic Canadian literature. A little dark, an uncertain ending. I truly enjoyed the writing and found the language really appealed to me. I read this in high school and re-read it for a reading challenge. I'm glad I did.
I was forced to read some or all of this book back in highschool in French class ("Bonheur d'occasion"). I decided to read it in English now to see if I can remember anything. No, I can't... This book is very depressing with the misery and poverty. Can't see why this book became so famous. It is a rambling, repetitive narrative. A family has 12 children. The mother is always pregnant. The father cannot hold down a job so they get evicted every year. Some of them join the military (WW2). The main character, Florentine, has a crush on a loser who date rapes her, then she tricks a nice guy into marrying her because she is pregnant.
This is the 60th of a series of titles selected by writer Yann Martel to provide to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, to encourage an appreciation of the arts and literature in particular in the PM, and to also help him with his stillness and thoughtfulness. Martel has regularly sent books from a wide range of literary traditions to Harper, and many also focus on Canadian milieu and issues. Martel has devoted a Web site to the reading list and his kind and considered covering letters with each volume. Martel has never received a direct acknowledgement from Harper, and only recently some fairly form-letter responses from Harper's staff. He has, however, received a response (although not directly related to one of his book selections for Harper) from Industry Minister Tony Clement.
smichal thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over
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