Matters of Life and Death by Andre Picard (127)

One of our biggest and most pressing health issues now is euthanasia and physician assisted death.  It is now legal under certain circumstances for physicians to end the life of their patients if they patient falls into a particular set of criteria.

But there are other health issues as well here in Canada as Picard mentions in this ground-breaking book. Picard tackles the nation’s most pressing public health issues.

Health care has consistently been identified as the number one issue for Canadians. No journalist has written on public health with more authority or for as many years as Andre Picard.

In this book, Picard collects some of his most compelling columns, covering a broad range of topics from Canada’s right-to-die law, the financial challenges of a publicly funded health system,. the appalling condition in First Nations communities, the legalization of marijuana and the social and economic impacts of mental illness.

With his reporting, Picard demonstrates the connection between a population’s health and the well-being of society as a whole, provides the facts to help readers make knowledgeable health choices, and acts as a devoted advocate for the marginalized and neglected.

Providing an antidote to widespread fear-mongering and misinformation. This book is essential reading for anyone with an investment in public health–in other words, everyone.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted in Author from Montreal, Canadian Doctor, Scholarly book | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Louis St. Laurent by J.W. Pickersgill (126)

This is a book about a great Canadian, Louis St. Laurent! I just love books about Canadian politics.

Under St. Laurent’s government, confederation was completed and three major construction projects, the St. Lawrence Seaway, The Trans-Canada Highway, and a transcontinental natural gas pipeline, were all initiated.

Social welfare programs were also extended, the first Canadian governor-general was appointed and nationwide television broadcasts were begun. Beyond Canada’s borders, St. Laurent promoted an increasingly active and responsible Canadian role in world affairs.

These were the achievements of a man who because prime minister almost by accident, a distinguished Quebec lawyer who took office when he was already sixty-six years old. Perfectly bilingual, with an English-speaking mother and a French-speaking father, St. Laurent was a member of both of Canada’s founding cultures. He became, as prime minister, a living symbol of Canadian unity.

St. Laurent has a fine intelligence. He was also generous and he was a man who wasn’t soon to be forgotten.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted in Author from Montreal, Geography, History, Montreal, Nonfiction | Leave a comment

To Hope and Back by Kathy Kacer (125)

The St. Louis, is a luxury liner. It leaves Germany in 1939, taking its almost one thousand passengers to a safe haven across the ocean.

They will be making a fresh start in countries like Cuba and the United States, away from the Nazi regime that is trying to destroy them.

Lisa and her family has a large cabin in first class, while Sol and his parents are below in tourist class. They don’t know each others, but they share a mix of feelings. They are excited to be crossing the ocean, hoping for a brighter future and they are sad to be leaving everything they know behind.

Sol and Lisa’s optimism is threatened when the ship is not allowed to doc in Cuba. What the children don’t know is that their chance for refuge is in jeopardy and a darker future might lie ahead for the Jewish passengers on board.

This is a sad story about how immigrants come to a new land hoping for a new life. However, there are many hoops for them to jump through.

This is an educational book for kids of all ages. It could be used for school projects. It could also be read as a story about Germany in 1939.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted in Author from Ontario, History, Migration | Leave a comment

Subject to Change by Karen Nesbitt (124)

This is another story about a teen’s life.  It is set in a small town and it shows how a teen’s life can spiral downward to a series of let-downs.

Declan’s brother is a delinquent. His performance in school is nothing noteworthy either. His father left a long time ago and there is no trace of him. There is no one to talk to or commiserate to about his plight.

Then comes the long-awaited event that he dreaded: the parents divorce. This story shows how teens struggle when parents divorce, and how certain kids in the family becomes delinquent as a result. It is such a pity when this happens.

The break up of the family has been one important reason why teens have been feeling depressed and like they don’t belong. The family is there to hold the kids together and to show them how to have the best life. However, when parents split up, it makes kids feel so unwanted. Some even feel like they caused the split of their family. All of this can add to the difficulty of the situation.

This story is for the teen who is experiencing difficulties because of a parents split up.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted in Author from Montreal, Fiction, Teen Angst, Teen Book | Leave a comment

Run by David Skuy (123)

This is the second book that I picked up during my adventures at the library a few weeks ago.  It is another YA story, one that really enthralled me right into the heart of a teen’s angst and life.

This story is about a group of boys, led by Nick. They are terrorizing the hides in grade eight. Lionel just wants to get by without attracting attention.  He wants to stay in the shadows, silent and invisible. But that comes at a terrible cost: his self-respect and happiness is one line.

Then he discovers something else. He loves to run. To his surprise, he’s invited to join a running group. And more surprising, he begins to make friends, especially with Kiana, a girl who he admires. She tells him to stand up for himself — but when he does, he steps out of the shadows, and Nick and the boys take notice.

Lionel wants desperately to be happy–to run and to be with Kiana. How can he be happy if it means doing the unthinkable: leaving the shadows forever?

This is a story for all teens and young adults. It is also for adults who have teens or who are trying to understand teens better.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted in Author from Ontario, Runnuing, Teen Angst | Leave a comment

The Pain Eater by Beth Goobie (122)

Wow, I was sick with the flu last week. For the first 3 days I did nothing but slept. But then I started reading. Although I didn’t feel like doing anything else out of bed, reading became somewhat of a godsend.

So, I picked up a few young adult books on a shelf that I never saw before at my local library. The stories were great.  So, I will be reviewing a few of these titles today.

Teens struggle with a lot of pain. Given the rise of teen suicide, I think we can certainly wonder what is happening to our youth. This story shows first hand some of the angst that teens experience.

The girl in this story experiences a lot of pain. She doesn’t tell a soul. Not one word about that one night that changed her life forever, and what was done to her has never passed Maddy’s lips. She was desperate to tell someone at first. But then came the shame, and the intimidation from one of the boys who attacked her.

Now its the beginning of a new school year, and Maddy is hoping that she can continue to hide, making herself as quiet and small as possible.

She tries to keep the memories at bay by burning herself with cigarettes. But when one of her attackers shows up in her English class, even that stops working.

Then her class is given a group novel-writing assignment, and fact and fiction begin to blur. Can Maddy take control of the story and reveal the truth? And will she be able to find the part of herself she feels she has lost?

This is a sad book in many ways. It shows how angst-ridden teens are. But it also shows how writing can help in self-expression.

This story is for all teens and young adults as well as the older reader who is trying desperately to understand the teen mindset.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted in Author from Ontario, Fiction, Lives of girls, Mental Health, Teen Book | Leave a comment

The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur (121)

This book intrigued me when I saw it on my library book shelf of new books. I love the sun and the flowers. So, it was initially in line with my loves and passions. But as I started reading the poetry contained in the book, I was transformed from the inside out. I will never look at a flower or the sun in the same way. Now, if only spring can arrive….

Rupi’s poetry spans many different topics. But most of them are seeped in the love of nature that she had and how it had the power to transform her world and life into something beautiful. Very few of us are conscious and aware enough to really appreciate nature to this extent.

Nature should be treated with a tender hand and it should be enjoyed. The sun and flowers that emerge out of a garden can transform many a life out of the banal and meaningless and perhaps even desperate to a place of heavenly splendor, all in one engagement and experience.

May we all look at nature a new way.

The book is written without any conventions of grammar so that it can be authentic and enticing to the reader.

I recommend this book to everyone in the Canadian Book Review Challenge.


Posted in Book about Nature | Leave a comment