Greetings readers! I am back after a summer hiatus and will spend the next couple of weeks catching up on book reviews for all the great books that I have read over the summer. It has been an exciting literary summer including the celebration of Canada’s sesquicentennial and a cross-Canada reading challenge so you can look forward to many CanLit reviews!
With thanks to my cousin Sarah, I enjoyed reading The Greatest Hits of Wanda Jaynes. This was a debut novel by Newfoundland author, Bridget Canning. It was a book with a serious topic yet full of quirky characters and sections of sarcastic humour leaving the reader alternately laughing and scratching their head at the antics and reactions of Wanda.
Wanda has discovered that she may lose her job to budget cuts when she stops at the supermarket one early Saturday morning after the gym. She struggles past “purple coat lady” and is considering stealing a can of coconut milk when the unthinkable happens – a gunshot in the midst of the store! In the confusion she fells the assailant with the very can of milk she was thinking about stealing saving lives.
The reader learns the significance of the title when a recording of Wanda throwing the can goes viral. She deals with one thing after another in relation to the trauma, her pending job loss and relationship problems in the shadow of social media.
The book really makes readers ponder our dependence on technology, from the viral video to all the texting between characters leading her to worry about her relationship. I can’t say that I loved the text bubbles written into the story but then again, texting is becoming part of our day to day activities. Thankfully, the text bubbles were limited and it did not compare to Where Rainbows End (my least favourite book club read) which was full of texts and emails telling almost the entire story.
Overall, I enjoyed this book, it was unique and was a palate cleansing read to start my summer. I hope that this book will be considered for a movie as I think both the topic and the visual style of writing would lead well to screen.
I will look forward to more writing by Bridget Canning and send thanks to Sarah who introduced me to a new Canadian author!