Sunday, October 17, 2010

Bannock, Beans and Black Tea by John Gallant and Seth

The title - Bannock, Beans and Black Tea - describes a poor family's daily diet and the subtitle - Memories of a Prince Edward Island Childhood in the Great Depression - describes the content of this collection of anecdotes as told by John Gallant to his son, Gregory (who is better known as the graphic novelist, Seth). Gallant was born in 1917. He was part of a very large and utterly destitute Acadian family. Gallant's slightly bitter humour includes lists of "lucky breaks" that were connected to his upbringing, itemizing such things as: "We didn't have to fast for lent - we were always fasting." "No garbage to put out - you'd eaten it." His voice comes through clearly and these stories would work well read aloud to multi-generational listeners.

Readalikes: Prayers of a Very Wise Child (Roch Carrier); Halfbreed, especially the first part that describes the hardships of her childhood (Maria Campbell).

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