Had I attended high school in Canada, I’m guessing this novel would have been on my reading list, but given that I went to Charles M. Russell in Great Falls, Montana, I was reading All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren instead.
It feels like the perfect ‘read’ to start off the summer. Half way through, I’m taken by Duddy’s determination or as some would say, his sheer tenacity.
I am enjoying Richler’s honest portrayal of the Jewish ghetto of Montreal and I feel as though my reading is revealing more of our Canadian story, a theme that seems to be the weft of my entire vacation. The core belief of Duddy’s grandfather that, “A man without land is nothing,” feels very substantial to me and really drives Duddy to make some questionable choices as he goes along.
‘The teacher’, Mr. MacPherson, of the initial chapters, is intended to be secondary, but for me, there is such significance to the character written into these pages. Schooling, as well as family, is at the very center of who we become in our world.
I highly recommend that if you are looking at a summer-read and have not picked this one up OR watched the critically acclaimed motion picture of 1974 (I will watch it after reading the book), this might be one for you.