Chuck Comeau about the type of stories we need right now
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.
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.
"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:
- Chuck Comeau defending Homes by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah with Winnie Yeung
- Lisa Ray defending Brother by David Chariandy
- Ziya Tong defending By Chance Alone by Max Eisen
- Yanic Truesdale defending Suzanne by Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, translated by Rhonda Mullins
- Joe Zee defending The Woo-Woo by Lindsay Wong