Canada Reads·Highlight

Chuck Comeau about the type of stories we need right now

The Canada Reads panellist makes a final plea for the book he says all Canadians should read now.
Chuck Comeau on Day Four of Canada Reads 2019 1:27

After four emotionally-charged days of debating, Chuck Comeau, defending Homes, a memoir by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah with Winnie Yeung, made his final bid to challenge Ziya Tong defending Max Eisen's By Chance Alone for the book that best fits this year's theme of One Book to Move You.

Homes, championed by Comeau, tells the story of Iraq-born, Syria-raised teenager Abu Bakr al Rabeeah, who arrived in Canada as a refugee in 2014. 

The finale was the last opportunity for Comeau and Tong to convince fellow panellists Lisa Ray, Yanic Truesdale and Joe Zee that their respective book was the one all Canadians should read.

In his final plea Comeau acknowledged the need to recognize the past but asserted there is a critical need for books that speak to the tragic events playing out in the present day.

"This is the book that we need right now. This is a book that there's just not a lot of stories about this moment in time. This is about right now and I think there is something powerful about that. It's immediate, it's here and I think that's important," said Comeau.

Comeau also reminded the other contenders that Canada Reads was not a popularity contest and asked them to reflect on how the books in contention made them feel the first time they read them.

"I want you guys to remember, it's not about me. We've all done an amazing job at defending all the books. But it's not about me. I didn't write this book. It's not my story. What I want you to reconnect with is how you felt when you first read these two books. How did it move you and which book moved you the most? Which one made you feel like it was the most important? I just want you to reconnect with that because what we say today, it's not how great she is, or I am, it's what this book did to you when you read it," he said.

The Canada Reads  2019 panellists are:

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