“As I sat down each time with your book I was curious as to where you might be taking me in the next chapter or two. There were so many surprises and turns. Life is full of them, I know, but yours are so well written of, they seem to be real and much more. Almost a window of opportunity: a window for your reader to look out of, to see his or her world in a different and better light.” Reader review by John Garside.
Umpteen readers have emailed me with their responses to A Good Home. Some send photos as well. Philip Young created an image that celebrates A Good Home:
Thanks, Philip. And your wife Marje, for reading and loving the book. And for this interesting image!
John Garside, a gardener, avid reader and editor from Prince Edward County, Ontario, took A Good Home with him on his canoe trip in a remote part of Ontario. Seems the book made good reading when he stopped for lunch, eating his bagels, etc.
When John returned home, he sent me photos and his review of A Good Home:
“I find time with a book a very rewarding experience. The book I read just before opening the cover on yours was ‘Half Broke Horses’ by Jeanette Walls published in 2009. I then read yours, and then the next in line was ‘John Cameron’s Odyssey’, transcribed by Andrew Farrell and published in 1928.
I now have finished his book and find myself looking back on all three books and saying to myself, “What a wonderful reading time I have experienced!”
Now I would like to talk about your book. There were several things that I really liked about it.
The first one was the topic. “Homes” are made from “houses” and not everyone can do this and not everyone is aware of the transformation of a house into a home. The “Home” topic really interested me as I have lived in several places and it is interesting how attached you can get to a home. For me it can be the actual house or more recently something outside the actual house, the garden! So the topic was just the thing to read as I was leaving my former home for a new place.
The chapter length was excellent. Short and to the point which is something that Jeanette Walls also did in her book “Half Broke Horses”. With a busy life you sometimes only have thirty minutes to read so a nice short concise chapter is just the ticket!
I enjoyed each chapter as it started and ended within my grasp of time. Long chapter books are nice but I find I sometimes have to backup and re-read from the start of the chapter to get into the swing of the book again. I did not have to do that with yours. Each chapter was a nice fit and I could see the “Home” being built one chapter at a time.
Your book is very much like a piece of stained glass. Each piece speaks to you and is wonderful as it stands. Then when all the pieces are put together the picture is much more clear and I could see your path from Home to Home to Home and beyond.
Your snippets of early life were very interesting and it is most unfortunate that more people do not or cannot remember some of the finer points of their youth. I can remember things that happened to me when I was three, and feelings and a sense of the world when I was two and a half. You too have this gift and sharing some moments of your Jamaican childhood was very eye-opening for me, someone who was born and raised in Toronto!
I also found it interesting how you decided that Jamaica may be “home” but not your future. It takes a very mind-centred person to do this as most of us are more than happy to stay where we are.
You mentioned that coming to Toronto and going to Ryerson was quite an experience. As I read these pages I really felt for you as I recall when I went off to university in Hamilton (McMaster). I was surprised to see so many foreign students. Now being a curious sort of person I was always interested in their story. I made many fascinating friends and look back on my university days as eye-opening not only for what I took in my courses but also what I learned from my many foreign friends.
Your journey in faith is also well described as it is something that not everyone is comfortable in writing about. The church in Brooklin must have been quite a change for you from Jamaica!
I also enjoyed your look into homes as a place where you live. Your homes have been that, a place where you and your family live their lives and take care of each other. The seed is planted early in the book and continues to grow through to the end pages.
By the end of the book, each home is special in its own right but all are equal in their own gift to you and your family. I feel the same way about the various homes that I have had; they have all given to me and my friends a life-giving joy.”