I think that what I am about to say is going to make me very unpopular, but bear with me. I wasn’t totally blown away by Canada Reads candidate February by Lisa Moore. Without a doubt the writing was fabulous. Moore can slide the reader seamlessly back and forth in time and place with little to no effort. She moves you to places you did not know you were going to go and before you know it you’ve been there and back. I cannot stress enough that I think she is one of the best writers in Canada today.
But the story wasn’t all that compelling to me. Especially since it was about the Ocean Ranger disaster off the coast of Newfoundland, which should have been enough to drive the story forward. I am coming to realize as I write this blog that story is really important to me. I need a reason to keep turning those pages. As a result, I felt February was a bit draggy at times. I also tend to like stories told in a more linear fashion.
The story itself revolves around Helen, the widow of an Ocean Ranger worker and how her life and that of her children move forward with a huge absence in their lives. Helen’s son John seems to get a more attention than her other children, and yet his parts of the novel did not fit as cohesively into the rest of the story as others.
February is my last read for Canada Reads, so how do I think it will do? Lisa Moore, like Jane Urquhart (Away), has a loyal and committed following who want to see her win. Will this be enough? I suspect it may be. I think February has a very good chance at taking the Canada Reads title. It is being defended by Trent McClellan, and although I admit that I am not overly familiar with him, he is funny and I think he will be able to win over votes and that’s what counts.
Who would like this book? People who appreciate good writing will love February. Even though I was not draw in by the story personally, I can see that this is a great book and would recommend it with ease to a great variety of readers. Because of the setting it also reminded me a bit of Annabel by Kathleen Winter.