Almost 12 hours after The Break was voted off Canada reads, I am still shocked. To me, it is the book that all Canadian’s need to read to understand the impact of colonialism on indigenous families so that we can come together as a country. It is a book that makes me appreciate the strength, love and resilience of women who face many challenges.
I believe that the voting was part of the strategy of the game and that Jody Mitic and Measha Brueggergossman voted The Break off because they are threatened by this book which had the popular vote on CBC Books. This is unfortunate but I guess it is part of the politics of the game where each defender is out to see their own book fight to the end.
The show began by introducing each of the defenders. Measha had joined the debate late and had to catch up on her reading. Jody spoke of his mom being a “mega fan” of Canada reads and while he seemed nervous at first seemed more comfortable by the end. Candy Palmater provided a quick tribute to the late storyteller, Richard Wagamase. Humble the Poet was not so humble in sharing that he feels he has the winning book and Chantale Krevaizuk was broadcast from Los Angeles since her son was hospitalized following an asthma attack.
Each defender had 30 seconds to describe their book after the trailers were viewed:
Company Town: “a gritty, inclusive page turner of a book”
Nostalgia: “No matter how hard you try, no matter how hard you run, the past will always catch up with you and it will always influence your future. You can’t run from your past”.
The Break: Describes “the effects that colonization is having on indigenous communities right now, today”. It is “the book that could heal a nation”.
Fifteen Dogs: “we need to understand the human condition… human nature is the cause for man-made problems”
The Right to Be Cold: The book Canada needs to read because we are “we are in an absolute critical moment of civilization” and this book tells us ‘how to fix and resolve the problem we face”.
The debates began with concerns about Nostalgia being another book about an older man having an affair with a young women which was also seen as resourcefulness. The Right to be Cold was criticized for having way too much information making it hard to read and difficult to find the facts. Kreviazuk became defensive and had a moment of insulting Mitic based on the fact that he was not inspired by her choice (yet became softer and more relatable as the show went on). Humble tried to calm the waters by separating the commitment to climate change from whether the book did a good job inspiring change. Fifteen dogs garnered discussion on the debaters love of dogs as well as the fact that it had been well-celebrated and read during its success being the Giller Prize winner in 2016. It’s male focus was not appreciated while The Break was criticized for the lack of positive men in the story.
Unfortunately, the votes were tallied with 2 votes for The Break and 2 votes for The Right to be Cold. Kreviazuk was given the tie breaking vote and could not choose her own book so The Break will not continue even though Kreviazuk shared it was her favourite other than her own book. The Break has been a #1 bestseller so I have solace that Canadians are reading this fantastic book.
I struggled with the negativity and tone at times but will consider that all the defenders are passionate about the books that they represent. In the end, all the books are winners. They are all being read, being talked about and being debated. This is good for CanLit and good for the authors who have poured their hearts into their writing. Who knows what tomorrow will bring??? but it is guaranteed to be interesting!!!
Now I am not sure which book to shift my support to – either Fifteen Dogs or Company Town…