My Life as a Rat was not a fair sentence for an admission of truth

A rat is someone who snitches on another person—someone who breaks a moral code by revealing the transgressions of a friend or family member. In My Life as a Rat, a new novel by Joyce Carol Oates, the snitch is a 12-year-old girl and the price she pays for breaking the code far exceeds what is fair and justified or what she deserved. Violet Kerrigan was born the youngest in an Irish Catholic family of seven children in South Niagara, near Buffalo, N.Y. They're a working-class family in a working-class town.…

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Jesse Thistle recounts his life From The Ashes of drugs and addiction to a life of helping others

When I saw Jesse Thistle interviewed on CTV's The Social and heard his remarkable story, I just knew I had to read his memoir, From The Ashes, My Story of  Being Métis, Homeless, and Finding My Way. It's an honest, horrific recounting of his journey from being a homeless drug addict living on the streets of various cities for many years and serving time in prison multiple times, then rebuilding his life to become an Assistant Professor at York University in Toronto. Stories like this always inspire me and give me hope…

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Very Nice is not about nice people, but it is a juicy read

The only likable character in Very Nice by Marcy Dermansky is an apricot standard poodle called Princess, a.k.a. Posey. But that doesn't mean the book is not a fun read. On the contrary. Like the characters on Seinfeld, the various characters with all their flaws are colorful, individual and even understandable. When I first started reading, I wasn't sure if the book was a love story, a character study, a mystery, a comedy or a sex romp. Actually, it's all of these. Each chapter is written in the first person,…

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Catherine Gildiner’s new book GOOD MORNING, MONSTER was definitely worth the wait

Less than a week after the release of Catherine Gildiner's new book Good Morning, Monster, it has already ranked sixth on The Globe and Mail and Toronto Star's lists of best-selling Canadian non-fiction this week. I can't wait for it to be released in the U.S. and hit The New York Times list. My friend Terry and I attended the launch on September 4th in Toronto and were thrilled to once again meet and talk to this wonderful writer. As a huge fan of her earlier books, I couldn't wait for…

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What’s it all about, Toby Fleishman?

  Who wouldn't want to be married to Dr. Toby Fleishman? He's a successful hepatologist (liver specialist) whose only shortcoming is . . . well . . . he's short (5 feet 5 inches to be precise). The answer is . . . his wife Rachel, who had such a problem being married to him, she went off the deep end and walked out. Apparently, being married to a successful doctor who doesn't cheat and loves his children isn't enough for Rachel. In Taffy Brodesser-Akner's new (and first) novel Fleishman…

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Greg Iles tells southern tales with an authentic voice

When a friend mentioned her book club was currently reading Cemetery Road by Greg Iles, it reminded me of how much I'd enjoyed reading his Mississipi Blood trilogy last year. Unfortunately, I never got around to reviewing it in BOOMERBROADcast. The earlier series was an amazing look inside complicated lives in the American south. Like his earlier books, Cemetery Road is set in Mississippi. As a native of Natchez, Iles has a deep and personal understanding of southern culture, prejudices, and social structure with all its associated values and flaws. As with…

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