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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It’s time to dump disposable fashion. Shop your closet

  The closing of Forever 21 retail outlets across Canada is a good news/bad news story. On one hand, it's a realization that consumers are beginning to reject the disposable clothing culture, but on the other hand, it means lost jobs for young people who often get their first working experience in retail.  One of my favourite bloggers, retired university professor and fashionista Lyn Slater, The Accidental Icon posted a piece last week Clothes and Relationship: What's Yours? about recognizing the importance of cutting back on the amount of clothing that…

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Did you ever get rid of something and later regret it?

Back in the 1970s when I was finally making decent money, living the life of a modern career gal who had to put her best fashion foot forward, I invested in a winter coat at the Your Choice store in Scarborough Town Centre, that cost an embarrassing amount of money. It was by Canadian designer Pat McDonagh. Made of black and grey wool tweed shot through with cobalt blue, it came almost to my ankles, had giant banded sleeves and shoulder pads, and a large, soft, open pleat down the…

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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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We did Downton and it was delightful, dahlings

For anyone who needs a break from the endless, soul-crushing media frenzy about Justin Trudeau's brownface debacle (and who doesn't need a break from that!), I highly recommend going to see Downton Abbey, the movie. This high camp costume drama set in the mid-1920s is just what we needed to relieve the never-ending onslaught of nasty, boring pre-election press. My boomer gal pals and I planned well ahead of time to be there on the opening day of the movie on Friday, September 20th. We grabbed a quick lunch at…

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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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