Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Reader's Diary #1360- Annelies Pool: Free Love

I once went to a writers workshop where the author presenting insisted on using the 3-act structure. I hadn't heard of it before and while he was able to provide plenty examples of movies and novels that did indeed use that structure— even ones I enjoyed— I hated it. It made everything too predictable, too cookie-cutter, stripped of any magic.

It came to mind again most recently while reading Annelies Pool's excellent novel, Free Love, which looks at woman named Marissa who has entered Alcoholics Anonymous. Of course, with someone entering AA or any sort of rehab, you just know where the plot's going to go: there's definitely going to be a relapse before this gets better. But, without trying to give too much away, Pool doesn't go this predictable route and yet the book still held my attention and still had an honest-to-god plot. Major kudos to her. (And in-yo'-face, Mr. Unnamed Author!)

Set right here in Yellowknife (with flashbacks set in Hamilton, Ontario), I was also very impressed with the delicate but accurate balance Pool struck while reflecting the beauty of the place and its people, yet not denying some of the social issues. Less familiar to me were the behind the scenes of AA meetings and I found them fascinating, especially the familial bonds that develop. Actually, I should be more specific: the healthy familial bonds. In biological families, we don't always have the unconditional love we deserve.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment of this book. Annelies Pool is a wonderful writer. Iceberg Tea was also enjoyable and gave a lot of insight into life "up there" (I live in Berlin.)