Wednesday, October 11, 2017


Hello everyone, I am here today with this Exercise I did a few weeks ago. In my SSM classroom we did a SHOW-AND-TELL about a book we enjoy, a book we come back to. I did mine on RUSH HOME ROAD. You can read all about it and let me know what you think. (Of course for copyrights reasons I can't show you the excerpt, but I must say, a little trip to the library and you would be all set)
Candy canes

First, I want to tell you that Lori Lansens was introduced to me by my oldest sister Soelah. She was an avid reader. She introduced me to novel reading in bed at the age of 11. Since then, I don’t think I can remember a time I didn’t have a book on my bedside table. We have shared a lot of books together. But Lori Lansens was one of the last writers my sister suggested I read before she passed away in 2005 (yeah, breast cancer). Not only did we love the fact that she is Canadian, we were amazed of her insight on the black culture in Canada. I read Rush home road in a minute, so I read it again at a lower paste of a few days and went to the end over and over again until I stopped crying. Call me crazy, I’m just a sucker for a book that will go right through me.
Lori Lansens makes up ordinary characters living in ordinary circumstances; being an old black woman with a mixed color child and brings everything along the ride to make it into something that the reader relates too. Not forgetting the fact that she is white. I just have to bow before such judicious talent mixed with solid courage.
The narrative is a form we see a lot in novels, yet Lori pushes it up a few notches in the way I feel I am going through Addy’s hardships, though things would be so different today for her. In general society could not blame her for it now.
I am working on condensing my words so the readers feel like they’re watching a movie. It happens to me when remembering passages of this book. I see the whole scenes before my eyes. I want to write like that. I’m learning it’s possible. If anything, the writing in this story has shown it over and over. The best influence a writer can get.
To me, there is no “meh” writing in this book. Not everyone might agree with me. But, with all due respect, I will stand by my word. “Meh” writing would have been telling the whole story from beginning to end, chronologically. This is far from happening here. Keeps the reader curious and interested.
The book starts with Addy and Sharla living together. Great way to start a story right, in the middle. Fresh from Lesson 2, I smiled at the genius of Lori Lansens. The magic in Lori’s writing is we become these characters by the way she appeals to our own naiveté and humanity  both as we follow Addy Shadd back and forth through her life.
What always kept me interested was as I read along, she finds not only a way to salvage what seems to be a wasted life in being willing to care for another child whom has no ties or relations to her. That’s when humanity  ( or Lori, I should say) saves the day. With all that Addy has gone through, you’d think she would not give a damn, and in the beginning she doesn’t. Until she understands that she has no other choice. This is who she is. Her mission will be to secure the child’s future in finding someone trustworthy to care for her.
Here are some highlights for you:
At some point, Sharla is wondering about who will take care of her.
Who will have me? , such a 6 year old lost child question to ask and formulate this way because they don’t always have the words. Reading this, made me want to pick her up in my arms and scream: I will, I will. Yet, Lori Lansens, not only gets it right in words, but in emotion also. This is no time to show Sharla how desperate the situation can become (Addy is pushing 70, a not long ago non-smoker, she quit the summer she got Sharla) instead she reassures the child through common sense, humor on page 425. Great parenting skills and psychology here. (I admire this quality in any parent)
Addy has been having flashbacks of her younger years. She has been raped and shun by family and neighbors. So she leaves suffering poverty, trusting thee wrong people and many losses.
v  We learned O Canada in French. (details of interest for the reader and the fact that she is learning it in French is something that connects me to the story)

v  Mmm-hmm. (What mom doesn’t answer in this manner throughout the course of a day, love it.)

v  He make the bed with you in it? (the correct grammar would have been Did he make the bed with you in it?, but this is a child and the words she uses in the dialogue is different from the adults one. It sits naturally with the reader (me) and adds another touch of realism.)

v  Page 428-This part was complete magic to me, for poor Sharla, from where she come from, supper could have been magic, but Addy has this way of capting Sharla’s curiosity:

v  Addy glanced around mysteriously, then whispered “Santa’s a magical man, Sharla, and magic’s a thing not to question. Now you want to get up and go look in that closet or not?
The reader is in the room with Sharla and Addys, how can you not? It’s easy to understand by the way the child reacts. I sense maybe seeing, but not believing what she sees for she couldn’t dream this possible a few months ago. More, that someone would think of offering her a gift in the first place. I can read all this in these few words.

She could barely say the words.

The energy dashes to your heart with the next  two words:

“A television.”
Sharla was quiet for a long time before she said, “I never heard of Santa bringing no one a television before.

The chapter ending shows us how loving Addy is with her “girl” by being honest in telling Sharla that she is aware of the “bad things” she did, but emphasizes that she is “…mostly good” and .”knows that to be true”. How safe Sharla must feel with Mum’ Addy.
Little note about Lori Lansens I picked up while researching some interesting things to know about her. This has to be another reason why I love Lori’s writing so much. This is what she answered when asked what was the best advice she ever received. Parenting advice, she says. She walks the walk, not only talks the talk in her novels. I suspect, in her daily life too. Now that’s my kind of writer.
The best advice I received was parenting advice. It came from different sources. Condensed, it looks like this: Let them fall down. Let them fail. Let them bleed a little. Dirt’s okay. Let them suffer disappointment. It’s good for them to cry now and then, too. Comfort, but don’t coddle. Protect them from injury, but not pain. Pain teaches. Pain strengthens. Love them fiercely and tell them so every day.
Source for the whole interview:
Thanks for stopping by it's always such a pleasure to know you care.

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