Alan Doyle is one of the frontmen of Great Big Sea; a band known for fabulous storytelling in their songs and in their live shows, so you had to know that his autobiography was going to have something good going on. This book is going to fit the bill for someone on your shopping list and, if you have that nagging feeling that you might have forgotten someone, just grab an extra one of these and keep it wrapped up, just in case. It’s so good that it’s almost a one size fits all book. Should you find it left over at the end of the gift giving season you can just keep it for yourself.
When I received the shiny copy of Where I Belong I was so very excited as it had been heavily promoted on his web site, in the newspaper and on the CBC. I had been quite keen to read the book because the song of the same name (found on the album Boy on Bridge through your local WPL branch) had captured my heart and I wondered how much of that same emotion would be in this book. It’s all there. I knew I had just 14 days to read it as the demand for this book was high but it only took two. It reads like a well-written magazine article and feels like a long chat with a friend. The stories are poignant or hilarious and it’s like you are right there in the kitchen with him while he tells you about his siblings, his friends or ruining his mother’s piano (oh my goodness). I’d give a lot to be able to meet his grandmother or have him get a chance to meet mine. It’s an odd way to feel after you read a book written by a singer from a musical group that can sell out multiple shows at Massey Hall. You’d expect the book to be fairly egotistical or at least a little bit ‘hey look at me’ but it didn’t read like that at all.
I’m touting this as a great gift (hope my brother Jeff doesn’t read this post before the holidays) because I think there is something to be gained from reading a book where the author reflects on their own good fortune. I think that looking back on where you came from, who your parents and grandparents were, what you learned from your siblings is a bonus part of the holiday season. Feeling lucky and reflecting on that is a little treat we can give to ourselves. And, should you find yourself with that wrapped copy of Where I Belong following the busy holiday season then just unwrap it and enjoy. If you did give that copy away you can drop by your WPL branch and we’ll help you track one down. Maybe take home an accompanying soundtrack as well? We have a few good ones we can suggest…you know, there is this really great band from Newfoundland you might have heard of…
– – Penny M.