Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Year by the Sea

by Joan Anderson
I make no bones about being a literary snob. I prefer to read skilfully written books that have a rich grasp of language and a clever ability to string that language into thoughts that surprise me. This book did none of that, but ir did charm & engage me, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.
Joan Anderson is a children's writer, which shows up in the simplicity of her thoughts, the repetition/obviousness of her arguments (not to mention that some of her experiences of marriage & womanhood are limited to her generation), and the level of her vocabulary. Yet Anderson's sharing of her experience itself - seperating from her husband to explore life on her own in the family cottage on the Atlantic coast - is generous, and inspiring.
Few of us look beyond the familiar dichotomies that present themselves when life isn't what we expected. Whether it's a home, a marriage or a job, if we're not happy the options seem to be stay and do more of the same, or leave. Anderson didn't panic. She did separate from her husband, not as a way to leave but as a way to discover and create what was next. And she risked and adventured and discovered her own path.

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