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Get to know the Canada Reads books: Good to a Fault

Read the opening paragraphs of Marina Endicott's compelling story of a Canadian Good Samaritan.

Left turn

Thinking about herself and the state of her soul, Clara Purdy drove to the bank one hot Friday in July. The other car came from nowhere, speeding through on the yellow, going so fast it was almost safely past when Clara's car caught it. She was pushing on the brake, a ballet move, graceful — pulling back on the wheel with both arms as she rose, her foot standing on the brake — and then a terrible crash, a painful extended rend-ing sound, when the metals met. The sound kept on longer than you'd expect, Clara thought, having time to think as the cars scraped sides and changed each other's direction, as the metal ripped open and bent and assumed new shapes.

They stopped. The motion stopped. Then the people from the other car came spilling out. The doors opened and like milk boiling over on the stove, bursting to the boil, they all frothed out onto the pavement. It seemed they came out the windows, but it was only the doors.

An old woman was last, prying herself out stiffly. Her lap was covered with redness, roses growing there and swelling downwards, and she began to screech on one note. The man, the driver, was already shouting. The line of curses streaming out of his mouth hung visible in the heavy air. Their car was the colour of butterscotch pudding, burnt pudding crusted on it in rust. The whole driver's side had crumpled inward, like pudding-skin when it is disturbed.

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