Allison's Book Bag

Musings Meme: Current Reads #21

Posted on: December 15, 2014

MusingMondaysWhat are you reading right now?
What do you think of it?
Why did you chose it?

In case you didn’t notice the byline, I must warn you that what you are reading was not written by Allison. It is written instead by me, Andy, her husband. Proceed at your own risk.

I told Allison earlier today that writers must overcome many obstacles. I should know — often the obstacle is me. And today I was one obstacle too many.

Allison likes to fill her life to the brim. No, that’s not quite true. It’s not that she wants to be busy, it’s that she has so many interests, and she just can’t say no to any of them. If she’s not working on her novel, she’s reading books and reviewing them for this blog. If she’s not reading or writing, she’s trying to make the world a better place for pets, either by writing articles for rescue groups or by helping care for feral cats. And of course there’s her job — but Allison isn’t content to just put in the hours that are required of her, so she also has an after-school writing club. Between you and me, I think she likes writing. Her days are a flurry of teaching, reading, writing, organizing, and more. She just never stops. The world is a better place because of her drive and passion. She’s truly a remarkable person.

But even truly remarkable people can’t always handle everything that life throws at them, and so, because today I was one of those unwelcome projectiles, I offered to write this post for her while she’s at her dentist appointment. My idea was that she would tell me as much as possible about her current read on our drive home, and I would tell all of you. She thought that was worth trying, and so as soon as she closed the passenger door the floodgates opened.

Allison’s current read is Little by Little, the autobiography of Jean Little. That’s a lot of “littles”. If you’re a regular visitor to Allison’s blog, you know that Allison has a lot of interests and/or passions. Just a few of them are: authors (duh!), Canada, and special needs. Hence her love of this book.

JeanLittleJean Little, is a Canadian author who was legally blind from birth, whose life experiences have inspired her to write several children’s books about characters with disabilities. What Allison likes about Little’s books is that while her characters have disabilities, the disabilities are not the focus of the stories.

Allison shared a couple of anecdotes about how Little became interested in writing. The first involved Jean being late for school, and being afraid to write her name on the board as punishment, and using a made-up tale to explain her lateness as a diversionary tactic. It worked, she wasn’t punished, and she began to learn the power of words. I forget the second anecdote, but I’m sure Allison will tell you about it.

Allison couldn’t help crying when she related a story about Little’s father, who had been extremely supportive of her writing. Little was writing something for publication, and her father sent her a book that he thought would be of help to her, and during a phone call he asked her if the book was helping and she said that he would have to decide for himself when he read the published article. But her father was soon hospitalized, and he died before he could read the article. Something like that. This hit Allison so strongly because it reminds her of her own need to share her writing with her father, who has been so supportive to her in everything she does.

There’s so much more that Allison wants to tell you about this book. She left me her notes, but there’s just no way I could do them justice. Allison read the book, I didn’t. But I know Allison will pop in here when she can and add her own thoughts to this post. You really should bookmark this page and check back in a day or two to read what she has to say.

3 Responses to "Musings Meme: Current Reads #21"

Hey, Andy, if you’re the one who wrote a review on Netflix for The Shape of Water, I thought it (your review) was very funny. I haven’t seen the movie, not sure if I will, in spite of Best Picture blah blah blah.

Thanks for introducing me to Jean Little’s books! Also, I appreciate your comments. My review can be found here:

Mine for Keeps is one of my all-time favourite books. I read it to my class when I was a grade five teacher, and my family and I read it in our family reading.

It is the moving story of Sal Copeland, a girl with celebral palsy, becoming used to life with her family and school after having lived for five years in a home for handicapped children. The title comes from Sal’s feelings about Susie, the West Highland White Terrier that her parents bought for her. The story also features Piet Jansen, a boy with a psychological problem as serious as Sal’s physical problem.

As its conclusion brings out, the story is above all about the importance of friendship. One of Sal’s friends, Piet’s sister Elsje, tells her, “I would like to give you something, but everything that is here is yours already.” Thinking about what Elsje meant, Sal concludes that she was referring to Sal’s having everyone there as a friend. Then a wet tongue swipes Sal’s leg and she looks down at Susie and murmurs, “Oh, you, too. You’re mine too–mine for keeps!”

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