Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Colony of Unrequited Dreams

There are very few books that I would say defined my love of reading. Anil's Ghost is one of them, so is Man of the Century I read both as a kid (ok, more like 15, whatever) and they cemented what to this day I hold as books I still read when I want to remember why exactly I'm a (sort of) librarian. The third book that rounds out my love of reading is The Colony of Unrequited Dreams.  My grandpa was a Newfie, born and raised on the rock, till he ran away to Ontario when he was 15 and rebellious. Grandpa hated confederation, but loved Joey Smallwood. I was raised with a picture of the Queen on the wall, and knowing exactly why cod were important.

My grandpa died when I was 8, and when I was 15 my grandma died. I was a teenager, and sentimental, and was telling my teacher about how much I missed both my grandparents. My English teacher, brilliant man that he was handed me Colony. This brilliantly written book summed up the history of Newfoundland in the best possible way. It followed the life of Joey Smallwood, and Wayne Johnston reels his readers in with his heartbreakingly wonderful history of the Island's entry into confederation. Fielding was a wonderfully unique character, Smallwood became real and the love and longing they had for each other, and their home was wildly apparent.

It is a fictional biography, but in the best possible way. The majority of the facts are true, and written in a way that felt like I was talking to my family. The book is funny, wonderful, heart breaking, lovely and very very real.

Love you Gramps. 

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