This is one of those rare books that you don’t want to rush. One that you want to savour. I speed-read… a lot, but when I come across a work like Cynthia’s with its depth for inspiration through great story telling and references to and from great poets and philosophers that naturally blend with what is being shared, it becomes impossible.It’s a beautiful memoir full of love and grace, and has a depth that’s so touching you’ll be completely engulfed.
Cynthia’s writing is excellent. She touches emotions but avoids sentimentality. There were a few passages where I couldn’t avoid the tears. When she writes about herself, there is no ‘woe is me’, rather, she tells it how it was, with refreshing honesty and candour. Not an easy achievement.
She also laughs at herself, confessing her less-than-perfect cooking skills. And humour is scattered throughout the book, as is the unexpected. But that’s life.
“Good memoirs bring light into the world, and An Honest House beams light from every page… I highly recommend immersing yourself in An Honest House.”
Review of An Honest House by Cynthia Jobin, poet
Reviews of A Good Home
By HarvestingHecate on 3 Jun. 2016
Anne Day, Company of Women:
“This is a beautifully-written book that demonstrates the resilience of the human spirit and the power of faith and love.”
Susan Marjetti, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation:
“Read 14 books this summer. Most memorable? A Good Home, by Toronto’s Cynthia Reyes. An enriching and lasting experience.”
Gail Scala, Writer and Gardener:
“From her childhood home in the hills of Jamaica to the various country-like settings in Toronto and surrounding areas, Reyes bares her soul as she describes each home in loving detail while she searches to find meaning and significance in the path her life leads her on. Her homes and the gardens that surround them are described in exquisite detail and they take on personalities of their own as they become her sanctuary, her prison or her saviour. A wonderful piece of work that resonates a long time after you close the cover.”
“When Cynthia Reyes dips her pen in ink (for this is how we imagine her, immersed in traditional techniques and devoid of modern day conveniences like laptop or iPad) she creates magic; captivating, heavenly prose falls from her quill. She’s indeed a gifted scribe and, leafing the pages of A Good Home (gripped, as we were, from the opening paragraphs) we hung on her every, emotive word.”
The burning logs smell of maple and apple wood. Embers spark.
Wood ash sifts through the grate.”
Like a spark that flares into a raging fire in an instant, Cynthia Reyes’s memoir, A GOOD HOME, starts with her describing her recovery from a life-changing accident, and her husband’s quest to find stories she had written over previous decades. Many of those stories centred on homes that shaped her life, from Jamaica to Toronto to Vancouver and back. Over the course of a year, his search led him to find her stories in old envelopes, torn bags, ragged boxes, and computers – past and present. Some of those computer files required finding equipment old enough to read them. Reading and re-reading those stories helped her re-discover her life and re-connect her life with the written word.
Shelley Beach, Award-Winning Canadian Artist and Teacher:
“Reading A Good Home was like enjoying fine poetry that flows effortlessly, convincingly and magically. Cynthia Reyes weaves the inspired story of her remarkable life, anchored and affected by her search for sense of place. Just as a visual artist may achieve a “painterly” result, so too has Cynthia. Excellent!”
Minelle Mahtani, Associate Professor, Geography, University of Toronto:
A Good Home explores important and poignant questions about how we create homes and dwellings, and how love permeates the places in which we live. What does it mean to create a sense of place across oceans? Reyes powerfully examines this question, through humorous anecdotes and retellings of her life story. Her tales brought me to tears one minute, and had me breaking into guffaws the next. I find myself returning to her book time and time again since reading it, revisiting certain chapters, and marveling in the life lessons that are here for all of us.
Jacqui Denomme, London Public Library:
“As exciting as fiction but even more so because these stories are real and true, unique and universal at the same time. I found myself wanting to tell everyone to read this charming and beautifully written book.”
Sylvia Vollenhoven, Writer and Executive Producer, S. Africa:
“Using her homes as a metaphor for the different levels of experience is a brilliant technique. I had mixed feelings reading the book: I didn’t want to put it down and I didn’t want it to end. It is a beautifully written story.”
“A Good Home will delight your soul and touch your heart. There is magic in these words.”
“Our fave for July is Cynthia Reyes’ A Good Home. It’s a memoir of growing up in Jamaica and coming of age in Canada – a memoir whose simple style, lyrical prose and defining characters will provide you with hours’ worth of grinning from ear to ear as you recognize events or characters from your own past; with out-loud laughter at some of the antics and quirks and also with occasional tears when sadness strikes.”
Sandra Dear, Avid Reader:
“In her gentle self-deprecating manner, she tells the story of her life with humour and irony, its achievements and its pain. A good home is where the heart is. I wished it would go on and on. As Oprah used to say, I want to buy all my friends a copy of this book.”
Nick Hughes, Avid Reader:
“There are books I enjoy and yet look forward to the ending. Others I dread the thought of arriving at the end because I want it to go on and on; yours is one of those. What a wonderful journey I have been on.”