Sunday, September 26, 2021

Book Review: My Daughter Rehtaeh Parsons by Glen Canning with Susan McClelland (non-fiction)

I'm very impressed by the courage and strength it took to write this book. I know whatever I write in my review will fall short of what this book deserves. Still, I have to try...

Buy this book

My Daughter: Rehtaeh Parsons

Glen Canning (blog)

with Susan McClelland

Published by Goose Lane Editions

Published in 2021

I've had a blog since 2005. I know first-hand that cyberspace can be a force for good or ill. I believe that it is up to us--all of us--to ensure that good wins. So when I read a tweet about this newly released book I knew I wanted to read it and help review it. So I contacted Goose Lane Editions and they supplied me with a copy.

My Daugther Rehtaeh Parsons is a story about what can happen when cyberspace is used to destroy a life. We all can be victimized but it is the most vulnerable., the children, who are at the greatest risk.

Glen Canning shares a heart-wrenching account of how his daughter "Rae" was victimized, how a system failed her, and how cyberspace perpetuated her victimization.

Glen writes in the Introduction to the book...

'This book is not about sexual assault...

  'Nor is this book entirely about the institutional failures that let Rae down...

   'It is, more than anything else, about a culture that has normalized and accepted gender violence; a culture in which even women and girls play a role in perpetuating and normalizing that violence...

This book is about Rae, but it's also about how all of us, hopefully, may begin putting ourselves back together.' (p. 10-11)

What we need to do is follow Glen's lead. He could have become a vigilante and set out to make the quilty pay. He could have, but instead, he became a healer. The quest he has begun is to attempt to heal the world or as he writes put us back together. He needs, he deserves our support.


 On this blog in October

Sunday, October 3
Guest Post
Brian Van Norman
(Science Fiction Author)

Wednesday, October 6
Podcast Author Reading
Without (short story) by Leanne Dyck

Sunday, October 10
Book Review
The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy
by Douglas Adams
(Science Fiction, Humour)

Wednesday, October 13
Podcast Author Reading
Basket Weaving (short story) by Leanne Dyck

Sunday, October 17
Short Story
Dream (romance) by Leanne Dyck

Wednesday, October 20
Podcast Author Reading
Jaron Cardw, Author (short story) by Leanne Dyck

Sunday, October 24
Book Review
The Almost Wife (thriller)
by Gail Anderson-Dargatz

Wednesday, October 27
Podcast Author Reading
My Knitting Haven (short story) by Leanne Dyck

Sunday, October 31
Short Story
Eyes by Leanne Dyck

Sunday, September 19, 2021

He Saved Me (short story) by Leanne Dyck

 This short story could be a romance but it makes a sharp left-hand turn into the weird.

Don't hate me because I'm beautiful. I didn't always look like this. I used to weigh double, no triple my current weight. 'Piggy', 'Tub of Lard', 'Fatso'--that was me.

In front of me, people said, "Pretty face shame 'bout the body." Behind my back, they sneered, "Doesn't she care how she looks?"

If they only knew how much, I was obsessed with losing weight. I tried dieting, vomiting, exercising, fasting--I tried it all, nothing worked.

I drown my self-hatred in glass after glass of wine, at my local bar. One night, feeling the buzz, I told myself, that's it. I want to end this pain. I don't have anything to live for. No one will care when I'm gone. No one.

I would have followed through on that plan but an odd thing happened. A melt-your-heart-gorgeous guy I ignored him. I told myself he had to be one of those guys who thinks it's hilarious to hit on the ugly chick.

He stood up, walked over, and sat down beside me. "Hello, beautiful. My name's Cody." His eyes caressed my body like he liked what he saw.

I wanted to throw my drink in his face, but I'd finished it. So I made to leave, but he grabbed my arm.

"Believe me. I don't play games; I'm interested," he told me.

Yeah, right. I wanted to laugh in his face, but I just sat there numb.

Every day for weeks, after that, I found love letters in my email inbox, roses waited for me at work, invitations to romantic evenings were left on my voicemail. He pursued me until I finally said, "Yes."

Well, he poured out the charm in buckets--wining and dining me. And for the first time in my life, I felt attractive, desirable.

One night, in an upscale restaurant, Cody reached for my hand. "Will you come away with me? I've found a charming country inn on a remote island. We'll spend every day together. We'll barely leave our room," He squeezed my hand. "our bed."

Oh, his smile. How could I refuse? Why?

So I packed my bags. The island was beautiful--from what I saw of it. I was too busy. If you know what I mean.

One morning, I woke up to his voice on the phone. "I need a steak knife and a fork." I guessed he was talking to the front desk. "Please wrap them in a tea towel and bring them to our door. Knock once and leave." It was an odd request. And I didn't know why he'd made it, but I would learn.

During that magical weekend, he transformed me. He plunged the steak knife into my flesh, hacked off the fat, and popped it into his mouth. "Hmm, you taste so good. The best I've ever eaten."

Sure, I can't deny it hurt, at first--but you can get used to anything.

Bite after bite, mouthful after mouthful, he shaped me into the woman I am today. Thanks to him, I can stand tall. Now I'm a woman any man would cherish.

Sunday, September 26

Book Review

My Daugther Rehtaeh Parsons (non-fiction)
by Glen Canning

I'm very impressed by the courage and strength it took to write this book. I know whatever I write in my review will fall short of what this book deserves. Still, I have to try...

Wednesday, September 29

Author Reading Podcast

He Makes Me Feel (poem)


Sunday, September 12, 2021

Book Review by Benni Chisholm: Brief Answers to the Big Questions by Stephen Hawking (autobiography)



Author:  Stephen Hawking

Copyright:  2018

Publisher:  Bantam Books, imprint of Penguin Random House

Pages:  218

Stephen Hawking was a renowned cosmologist, a Professor of Mathematics at University of Cambridge for thirty years, an author of eight books delving into time, physics and cosmology, a family man who helped raise two children, and with his daughter Lucy was the author of five children's books. He did all this while coping with a debilitating disease--ALS.

At age 21 he was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis with a life-expectancy of 2 - 5 years. With human and technological help he defied that prognosis and not only lived but worked for 5 more decades. Though he was slow to learn to read and his handwriting was untidy, he was inspired at age 14 by a wonderful teacher who opened his eyes to maths as the blueprint of the universe.

Sprinkled throughout this book's serious essays is Hawking's amazing sense of humour. While struggling to understand the relationship of the Big Bang and the Big Crunch, I learned he had been asked not to mention the Big Crunch in case it frightened people. But, he wrote, word got out and the markets crashed. However most people in England failed to worry about a possible end of the world in twenty billion years because they knew they still had lots of time to eat, drink, and be merry.

At present, he wrote, computers are less complex than the brain of an earthworm, but with the development of Artificial Intelligence that can rapidly change. It is vital that human biological systems keep ahead of electronic developments.

He delved into warp space-time and wormholes and how they might connect two sides of the galaxy and short-cut travel. Apparently a person might travel one way and return before having left. To illustrate this point he quoted a limerick:

There was a young lady of Wight

Who travelled much faster than light

She departed one day

In a relative way

And arrived on the previous night.

If travel back in time becomes available, Hawking suggested a Chronology Protection Law would be necessary to prevent people from going back and killing their parents.

He discussed Black Holes, Alternative Histories concepts, and DNA changes that could treat and cure human illnesses. he advised against a totalitarian government manipulating DNA because such a government would be inclined to ignore unintended consequences.

To solve population problems or nuclear war, he recommended colonizing a plant that has magnetic fields like earth. Apparently a planet in the solar system of Alpha Centauri looks hopeful. Though not a Trump fan he was pleased with Trump's Space Policy Directive refocusing NASA on exploration and discovery. Hawking was confident the policy would inspire young people to pursue the study of science and technology.

Near the end of the book, Hawking wrote these encouraging words:  "we never really know where the next great scientific discovery will come from, nor who will make it... Don't give up. Unleash your imagination. Shape the future."

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Teachers Matter (short story) by Leanne Dyck

 Little was known about dyslexia in the late 60s and early 70s. So, perhaps, it's not surprising that my principal should pronounce me uneducable. What is surprising is that teachers step up to prove him wrong. Student-first teachers have always been and will continue to be my heroes. I wrote this short story to honour them. May they and their students have a wonderful year together.

'Flowers in Sidney, BC on Vancouver Island'

photo by ldyck

My Special Teacher

The recess bell rings. Everyone runs outside. I follow but at the last minute turn back and head to the kindergarten room. Unfortunately, some of my classmates see me. “Why are you going in there? That’s the baby room. She’s a baby. Baby. Baby. Baby.”

I want to hurt them... I want to cry... They run outside. I push open the classroom door.

My remedial teacher Mrs. McIntosh has stiff cardboard posters on her desk. She picks one up. “What do you see?”

The girl in the pink dress and party hat holds a red balloon. She’s surrounded by her friends and lots and lots of presents. “It’s a birthday party for the girl in the pink dress.”

“Very good, Leanne.” Mrs. McIntosh sets the poster on the table, but I’m not finished yet. “She’s turning five and wants a walking, talking doll. Her mom tried to buy her one but the store didn’t have any. So she bought her a nightie-nightie doll, instead. The doll’s eyes open and close.”

“I love your stories, Leanne,” she tells me and holds up another poster. “Is there a story in this picture too?”

A girl and her mom are walking in the rain. The girl has rubber boots; her mom is in high heels.

“The girl and her mom are going to church.” I begin. “But it’s raining and...” I love this game.

Wednesday, September 8

Author Reading Podcast

My Special Teacher (short story)
Written and read by Leanne Dyck

Sunday, September 12

Book Review

Brief Answers to the Big Questions (non-fiction)
by Stephen Hawking
reviewed by Benni Chisholm

Wednesday, September 15

Author Reading Podcast

Five Dollars (short story)
Written and read by Leanne Dyck

Sunday, September 19

Short Story

He Saved Me 
by Leanne Dyck

A woman struggles with self-image.

Wednesday, September 22

Author Reading Podcast

He Saved Me (short story)
Written and read by Leanne Dyck

Sunday, September 26

Book Review

My Daugther Rehtaeh Parsons (non-fiction)
by Glen Canning

I'm very impressed by the courage and strength it took to write this book. I know whatever I write in my review will fall short of what this book deserves. Still, I have to try...

Wednesday, September 29

Author Reading Podcast

He Makes Me Feel (poem)