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A Canadian Childhood cover

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2. Paperback Edition
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  • 324 pages
  • 6.0 x 9.0 inches
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  • 324 pages
  • 6.0 x 9.0 inches

Memoir, Coming of Age, Postwar Canada, Canadian Literature, Social History, Canadian History, Women's Studies

A Canadian Childhood
by Carolyn D. Redl

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.

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 the one-room farm school becomes an ordeal with the constant threat of bullying. The welcome move to town for high school is coupled with the humiliation of having to live in a garage. Through it all, the question of her future looms as she confronts the lure of the horizon.

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.

Carolyn D. Redl photo

When she was eight years old, Carolyn Redl won a writing contest and had her Christmas story published in the local newspaper. She has been writing ever since. Growing up on a farm in northern Saskatchewan (the focus of A Canadian Childhood), she left to attend the University of Saskatchewan. She eventually earned a Ph.D. in English from the University of Alberta and went on to teach English literature and creative writing in universities in Alberta and British Columbia. Describing herself as “constantly drawn to the horizon,” Redl has made numerous visits to Arctic communities to research the stories of women in the far north, and has written many travel articles. While this is her first full-length memoir, she has been published in a variety of other genres, from poetry and short fiction to academic articles. Her book of poems, earthbound, is published by Borealis Press.


Carolyn D. Redl

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