Get to know the Top 40: 5 Books that will change your perspective on family

There are 40 books on the Canada Reads longlist. Where should you begin? How should you cast your precious votes? Don't worry: we're here to help.

Each one of the books on this list will change your perspective on some aspect of the world, and all week, we'll be exploring which is which. So check back with us every day and pretty soon you'll know the Top 40 like the back of your hand.

Today: Books that will change your perspective on family.

Y by Marjorie Celona


Marjorie Celona's book begins with a newborn baby girl left on the doorstep of a YMCA with nothing but a dirty grey sweatshirt and a Swiss Army knife. The story alternates between the abandoned daughter and the troubled young mother, and Celona spins a surprising and heartbreaking tales about identity and the meaning of family.

Stunt by Claudia Dey


Playwright Claudia Dey's debut novel is a hilarious and devastating story of a nine-year-old tightrope walker named Eugenia who wakes up one morning to discover she's been abandoned by her beloved father. So she gets on a bicycle and sets out on a strange and magical journey that will test the boundaries of parental and filial love and connection.

The Shore Girl by Fran Kimmel


Alberta author Fran Kimmel's debut novel follows the life of Rebee from toddler to teen as she grapples with her single mother's instability and problems with addiction and her own longing for a normal life. Told from a variety of perspectives, The Shore Girl ultimately reveals a complex portrait of the bond between mother and daughter.

Ragged Company by Richard Wagamese


In Ragged Company, Richard Wagamese (whose book Indian Horse was a fan favourite in last year's Canada Reads) tells the story of four homeless people who develop a bond as they seek shelter from the elements in a movie theatre. They eventually befriend a lonely journalist and an unlikely bond develops, especially when these four lost souls discover they've found a winning lottery ticket. With his signature sensitivity and humour, Wagamese explores the meaning of home and forming family in unlikely circumstances.

Going Down Swinging by Billie Livingston

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Billie Livingston's debut novel follows two troubled years in the life of the formerly middle class Hoffman family. The mother, Eileen, lost her job as a teacher due to alcoholism and sordid taste in men and is now on welfare, trying in vain to dry out. Her older daughter is a teenage runaway and child welfare authorities descend on the family to try and take away Eileen's younger daughter. A moving story about a troubled woman battling addiction and 'the system' and doing all she can to hold her family together.

Do any of these books get your vote? Or are you waiting to hear about the other 35? Vote now!


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