Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Factory Voice, by Jeanette Lynes- Review

I like a good Canadian read when I can get it, and so my mother in law took on the impressive task of gifting me with two Canadian reads this Christmas.  Impressive because my house literally groans under the weight of a vast and varied collection of books scaring most people off giving me books (other than the hubby who can peruse said collection at will), and also because a good Canadian read usually means you have to dig a little deeper than the best seller shelf at the local bookstore. 

Fun fact about The Factory Voice? Author Jeanette Lynes was an author in residence at the Saskatoon Public Library and actually completed one of the drafts of the book while in residence there! 

Following the lives of a handful of people thrown together building Mosquito planes in Fort Williams, Ontario, during World War 2, The Factory Voice captures the shift in society happening during the time period.  Young Audrey runs away from an intended marriage to a ranch hand in her home province of Alberta to the "Glamours" of Ontario and a life of her own choosing, Ruby dreams of the day she can become a reporter and leave her stenography and this little town behind, Florence wants to become her own person and escape the stigma from her revolutionary seamstress mother, and Muriel wants to best her Chief Engineer position at the plant by being the first to perfect landing skis.

In a time period of tremendous social change, these women represent some of the biggest changes as well as the things that never change in society.  Their voices cover everything from their persistence in achieving goals their mothers never dreamed of as well as being pretty and meeting someone besides.  It was an engaging read, and it really transported me to the early forties in setting and language, which is always an impressive feat when your sitting on a subway in bustling downtown Toronto. 

What surprised me the most was how their small daily activities had me riveted, the more I read the more I couldn't put it down.  Character pieces usually don't evoke that reaction out of me, but this one did, I hated to put the book down in the end, I wanted more about these girls, more about their lives.  It came as no surprise to me that this book was long listed for the Scotiabank Giller Prize or that it was named one of the top 100 books of 2009 by the Globe and Mail.

An excellent book to share, I'd highly recommend it for your girlfriends, aunts, mothers and grandmothers. 

The Factory Voice, By Jeanette Lynes
Published By Coteau Books, May 2009
Serialized Podcast on CBC
Jeanette Lynes blog
Buy The Factory Voice on Amazon

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