Some People’s Children
Bridget Canning, 250 pgs, Breakwater Books, breakwaterbooks.com, $23
Imogene has never known life outside of the quiet Maritime town of St. Felix’s, yet the place fills her with uncertainty. In this coming-of-age novel, the reader is guided through a path of self-discovery and surprise. At the centre of her loss of innocence is the challenge of uncovering whether or not the town drunk, Cecil Jesso, is her biological father.
While Canning gives in to a few too many Young Adult Fiction clichés, with plenty of boy trouble and wistful high school antics, she also pulls off one of YA’s most noteworthy capabilities: getting the reader to see a piece of their own story in the protagonist’s antics. Once the platitudes of teenaged life are overlooked, Imogene’s predicament is, ultimately, something we’ve all encountered in one way or another: the drive for a sense of belonging.
Sure, most people don’t break and enter into their suspected father’s home or beat the living daylights out of a future boyfriend with a hockey stick in gym class — but Imogene is no less relatable for doing so. Really, she’s only trying to make sense of things in her own, perhaps mildly delinquent way — just like the rest of us.