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Reading in 2013: The Cure for Death By Lightning

They say not to judge a book by its cover, but The Cure for Death By Lightning by Gail Anderson-Dargatz hooked me with two details on the front:

  1. The title! What!?
  2. The little stamp that tells me it was nominated for the Giller Prize.


And you know what? I was not disappointed.

Not only is the protagonist a teenage girl named Beth (everyone loves a Beth!), but the story itself is quite riveting as an eclectic and often awkward group of characters navigate farm and family tensions in a village near Kamloops, BC, during WWII.

One of my favourite details is how the author wove recipes and home remedies (including the cure for death by lightning) into the story. In fact, I had planned to write out a few of them before returning the book to the library...but completely forgot. I may go back and flip through just to pick them up!

Don't get the idea that this is a glorified cookbook, somehow. It is an emotionally weighty and somber story that highlights the importance of the kitchen space and her mother's scrapbook to Beth as she finds herself immersed in issues of First Nations history and spirituality, bullying & abuse, family dynamics and mental health... it is a densely packed and wonderfully executed book.


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