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Simi Sara describes why she chose Good to a Fault for Canada Reads 2010

It was so easy for me to love Good to a Fault. I sat down by myself, the family was away, on a Saturday afternoon. The house was quiet. I picked it up and started to read and immediately saw traits in Clara that I know most women in Canada could identify with.

When I read a book I generally know within the first couple of chapters how I feel about it. Am I going to have to force myself to finish it? Will I be able to put it down? Where is is it going to fall on my list of books that I love?

The day I started reading Good to a Fault not a lot else got done at my house. In fact, not much got done until a day and a half later — when I'd finished it. I knew this book had me when (SPOILER ALERT) I found myself wishing Clara could keep the kids with her and when I realized that meant that I'd have to be wishing for the death of their mother, I was horrified. What kind of person was I?

That ethical dilemma made me realize what a brilliant job Marina Endicott had done to lure me to that place. Life is not a happy ending. Life is messy. In the best possible way she showed us how that messiness is actually what helps us to grow and learn and love. How could I have known that the journey of a middle-aged woman from the Prairies would be the same that so many of us go through, no matter where we live or what background we come from?

When I was asked to provide a few books as choices for Canada Reads, Good to a Fault was the first one that popped into my head. There were others that I considered, like The Winter Vault by Anne Michaels and The Other Side of the Bridge by Mary Lawson. Sure, Good to a Fault wasn't as well known; in fact, my bookstore had to order it in for me when I asked them for it. But isn't that what Canada Reads is all about? What better way to honour Canadian authors and the publishing industry than by picking a book that many people hadn't heard of or read. Because I am positive that once they do, they will realize what I did — that there is a little Clara in all of us; one that wonders if maybe she should have done things a little differently; one that longs to shake up her world but doesn't know where to start and, most of all, someone who wants to be loved just as she is.

 

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