Adventures and agonies growing up in northern Saskatchewan
Alongside the colourful details of everyday life--skiing to school, collecting magpie eggs for bounty, going "swimming" in a frigid snow-melt pond--are the struggles she experiences as she tries to find her place in the world. Raised in a warm and loving family, she is nevertheless painfully aware that her father longs for a boy to help work the farm. Going to a one-room farm school becomes an ordeal with constant threats of bullying. The welcome move to town for high school is coupled with the humiliation of living in a garage-sized home. Through it all, questions of her future loom as she confronts the lure of the horizon.
Carolyn D. Redl’s memoir of growing up on a northern Saskatchewan farm in the 1940s and 50s captures, in the vivid memories of one girl, a way of life that is a vital part of Canada’s social history. But it is much more than a recollection of rural life. A Canadian Childhood is, above all, a beautifully realized coming-of-age story, the story of a girl with an adventurous and restless spirit in an era when women’s roles were just starting to become less restricted.
Richly detailed and deftly told, A Canadian Childhood will be enjoyed not just as a fascinating snapshot of history, but as a moving, honest, and courageous life story.