Monday, April 27, 2009

New This Month: The Secret Lives of Litterbugs by M.A.C. Farrant

Fans of west coast Canadian writer M.A.C. Farrant can be forgiven if they feel there’s a shadow of the familiar in her latest book, The Secret Lives of Litterbugs (Key Porter). That’s because she partly mines territory already covered in 2004’s My Turquoise Years, a memoir that takes place in 1960, Farrant’s 14th summer. But don’t let possible redundancy scare you away: it doesn’t happen here.

The Secret Lives of Litterbugs is a collection of personal essays about Farrant’s own youth in the 1960s, as well as some that reflect her own experiences as a mother: the coin, then, is viewed from both sides.

Where My Turquoise Years is bathed in a certain nostalgic light -- 14 in 1960, somehow those numbers seem to just want to add up to nostalgia -- Litterbugs deals with a broader spectrum in terms of both timeline and emotion. It seems to me there’s a sharpness here that was lacking in the earlier book. But, whatever it is, The Secret Lives of Litterbugs is bright and fresh and real, a deeply enjoyable slice of family life, then and now.

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