We’ve all thought about doing something completely (I do mean completely) different at some point in our lives. I suspect that for most of us, the thought takes up temporary residence in our minds before life’s nitty gritty sends it on its merry way. For others, the thought lingers and changes from a ‘how about’ to a ‘why not’. In Carolyn’s case, the ‘why not’ developed into ‘let’s do it’. And that’s how she found herself in Canada, caring for an Alzheimer’s sufferer, Zuscha for twelve months.
Carolyn, a single mum, and her young son, Ben, spent a year and a bit far away from their native country (England). She put pen to paper during her time there (figuratively speaking, of course; it was more like finger to key, but that just doesn’t have the same ring to it) and writes about her life there. In her delightfully lighthearted and comic way, she expresses her opinions about her newfound countrymen, and the way Canadians live their lives. She’s sometimes bemused, sometimes irritated, sometimes delighted, and often overawed by the people and her surroundings; all of this is superbly conveyed.
Her job was not an easy one, but Carolyn has a tremendous sense of humour and a very patient young son. They both made friends easily and made the most of their time off to explore what they could of this unfamiliar country. If ever a book made me want to visit a place, Carolyn certainly did a wonderful job of selling Canada to me. Unintentionally, I believe. I think she wrote to provide a lasting memento of what she thought would be a lifetime experience. As it happens she not only sold Canada to me, she sold it very convincingly to herself and is now resident there.
There is a wonderful glossary at the end of the book; not for the British reader, but for the Canadian audience, explaining some of our (to some) quirky words and phrases. Even I, a Brit, learnt something new: I really didn’t know who Crystal Tipps was.
Carolyn’s style is somewhat casual and free, but this was a wonderfully funny, sometimes touching, very entertaining diary of a ‘gap’ year. Don’t miss it.