Category Archives: Annette’s Blog

My Fav Novel of 2014!

My Fav Novel of 2014!

Ellen in Pieces by Caroline Adderson is my favourite novel of 2014!  It is laugh-out- loud funny, sexy, and very moving.  The word that first comes to mind is delicious.  The novel is a gossipy treat, entertaining as hell, but at the same time brilliantly written with an unforgettable lead.  It is also a story about women’s friendships, how important intimate friends are to women and how our friends sustain us.  If that sounds like chick lit, it’s not.  Men would be equally intrigued by this rippingly good read.

Ellen is a hopelessly flawed character and yet despite her flaws, or perhaps because of them, she is wonderfully loveable, the kind of woman you’d kill to have as a friend, though you might not trust your husband around her.  Oh the mistakes she makes, gargantuan ones that make you stop reading for a moment and shake your head.  She did what????

Yes, Ellen is a major screw-up, but she’s first in a long line of loveable screw-ups in the novel, her lost, much too young lover, her feckless husband and troubled daughter, and even her women friends; each have made choices that that mess up their lives and complicate their relationships with Ellen.  Yet what comes across in this novel is how human and humane, each of Adderson’s characters are, so much so by the end of the book, you hate to leave this story world and wish for even a few more pages to devour.

Ellen in Pieces is the perfect title for the novel.  The structure is composed of a series of short stories.  Each of these stories can stand on its own and yet read together presents multiple viewpoints of Ellen at various times in her life.  Ellen in Pieces is a kaleidoscopic view of a woman’s life, rich in colour and light with changing patterns that surprise at every turn.   

The structure of ‘Ellen’ reminds me of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Elizabeth Strout, Olive Kitteridge.  The latter is told in a series of short chapters, in multiple voices, circling around the uptight and grumpy schoolteacher, Olive.

Both novels are love stories, love dressed in many outfits, love in regret and pain and finally in a quiet happiness.  Ellen and Olive may be polar opposites, but the compassion shown by Strout and Adderson towards their characters are what stays with us and renders both novels unforgettable.

20 Book List

20 Book List

When my Goodreads and Facebook friend, Liisa Rene, tagged me to list 10 of my favourite books, I checked my Goodreads list and ended up with 20. Then I managed, with much difficulty to narrow the list down to 10 but I’d left out so many books that I loved. How can you compare the…Continue Reading

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? My inspiration for a recent picture book manuscript was a sighting of wolves at our cabin in the Cariboo. It was last winter when we were hunkered down in front of a roaring fire and my daughter spotted three wolves crossing the frozen lake. We quickly ran to…Continue Reading

Review of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Review of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

If you’re a writer struggling with plot, read Gillian Flynn’s novel Gone Girl.  You will be inspired!  Flynn knows  how to hook the reader, lead her down the garden path, only to reveal that all the assumptions she has made so far are false.  Flynn’s ability to surprise the reader with plot changes so dramatic…Continue Reading

Review of The Fault in Our Stars

Review of The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is a brilliant, funny, tragic story about a couple of dying teenagers with cancer.  What? you’re probably thinking.  I wouldn’t go near that kind of book with a ten foot pole.  Who wants to be depressed?  Who wants to think about cancer?  Cancer is all around you…Continue Reading

The War on Wolves

The War on Wolves

The War on Wolves This winter, my husband, Michael Sather, and I saw three wolves cross the frozen lake in front of our cabin in the Cariboo.  It was one of those special moments when time stands still, when you are grateful to witness something rare and beautiful.  At the same time, the BC government…Continue Reading

Review of David Guterson’s Ed King

Review of David Guterson’s Ed King

Ed King by David Guterson is a deliciously clever and brilliant page-turner that impressed me with its sheer audaciousness.  Guterson is a superb storyteller who will hook you almost from the start and deliver surprise after surprise as his characters head for disaster.   As much as I enjoyed Guterson’s quiet and lovely first novel ‘Snow…Continue Reading

Review of Alix Ohlin’s Signs and Wonders

Review of Alix Ohlin’s Signs and Wonders

Signs and Wonders, Alix Ohlin’s collection of short stories, is a beautiful book.  Ohlin makes the art of writing short stories seem like a cakewalk.  Her writing appears effortless; her choice of wording so perfect that you think to yourself ‘of course that’s the only way it could be said.’ Many writers of short stories…Continue Reading

My Stand-up Desk

My Stand-up Desk

My Stand-up Desk Unless you’re like Hemingway who is reported to have stood up while typing his novels, the writer’s life could kill you.  Too many writers (me included) and social media types spend too many hours sitting in front of the computer. I enjoy physical exercise and it’s seldom I miss a day working…Continue Reading