Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Reader's Diary #1124- Carmen Aguirre: Something Fierce
This is not to say I didn't enjoy Aguirre's memoirs of growing up in troubled political times in South America— it was probably the unfamiliarity of her life that kept me interested— but even down to the familial level, down to the personal level, I found nothing, nothing, about Aguirre that I could relate to. Even the few scenes back in Canada were foreign, and fascinating, to me. Traveling from Vancouver to attend a Rebel Youth Brigade in Edmonton? That couldn't be more removed from my teenage years— skipping school to go off Ski-dooing with my buddy— than had she written about poaching gorillas in Rwanda. There were Rebel Youth Brigade meetings in Edmonton?!
Eventually, however, some of the unfamiliarity became overwhelming. She crisscrossed across South America so often, running into or away from so many various conflicts (or variations on the same conflict), that I lost track. Still, I enjoyed the book— a fact I had to remind myself of several times, mostly when considering all of the positive praise the book has gotten that I don't necessarily agree with. The blurb on the front of my copy, from the Globe and Mail for instance, refers to the book as "courageously honest and funny." Courageously honest, I'll give her. But funny? Every moment wasn't serious, and it had amusing moments here or there, but I really think "funny" sends the wrong message and most people picking up the book expecting to laugh out loud will be sorely disappointed. As for a Canada Reads win? That, to me, seems a bit much. It was good and all, but I'd be reluctant to say great.