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The Book of Small by Emily Carr
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The Book of Small (1942)

by Emily Carr

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From the book box that dutch-flybabe sent to me.
  BoekenTrol71 | Mar 31, 2013 |
How is it fair that a renowned painter can also be a gifted writer? Carr wrote this memoir of her early childhood when she was in her early 70s, so historical veracity is not the point of this delightful book. Carr was born in Victoria, BC, into a community that is often called "more English than the English," and many of her vignettes tell of people forging their idea of a civilized life in the western wilderness. The Book of Small is a collection of snapshots of British Colonial life through the eyes of a small girl, in fact, the "Small" of the title is Carr's nickname as the youngest daughter. Some of the stories are told in first person, and some in third, with Small as the main character. My favourite part was when Small dresses up a starfish in doll's clothes and then forgets it in a cupboard.

The Book of Small has been compared to the writings of Lucy Maud Montgomery and Beatrix Potter, although this is not a children's book. She does capture that world of late-Victorian childhood where one minute she's sitting on a stiff chair drinking tea in a dark parlour, and the next she's squeezing through brambles and mud to get to her own Secret Garden.

Victoria is one of my all-time favourite cities, and I know it well, so it was fascinating to read what the city was like before the imposing Empress Hotel, when cows roamed the streets and Cook St was the garbage dump. I enjoyed how the city itself is a character in this novel.

Recommended for: Anyone looking for a amusing yet detailed look at domestic British Colonial life. Also anyone who is interested in the history of Victoria. ( )
4 vote Nickelini | Mar 10, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0772516138, Paperback)

The Book of Small is a collection of thirty-six short stories about a childhood in a town that still had vestiges of its pioneer past. Emily Carr tells stories about her family, neighbours, friends and strangers - who run the gamut from genteel people in high society to disreputable frequenters of saloons - as well as an array of beloved pets. All are observed through the sharp eyes and ears of a young and ever-curious girl. Carr's writing is a disarming combination of charm and devastating frankness.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:03:41 -0400)

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