'Repetition is the key to success... it's a battle of the mind': Rosey Edeh champions The Midnight Bargain
Edeh is championing The Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk. The fantasy novel follows a woman named Beatrice Clayborn who makes her debut at "bargaining season" — an annual event where wealthy young men and women gather from all over the world to make advantageous marriages. But Beatrice dreams of becoming a full-fledged magician in Chasland — and pursuing magic as her calling, as only men are allowed to do.
Jacobs argued that, while she enjoyed reading the book, the narrative in The Midnight Bargain felt repetitive at times. The main character's struggle to break out of social norms and customs was brought up several times throughout the book. This week, Jacobs is championing Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead.
Edeh countered that The Midnight Bargain immerses readers in a patriarchal world and that its main character must use repetition to break free of the strictures that attempt to govern her body and mind.
Below is a condensed version of their discussion. Watch the video above for their full debate.
Devery Jacobs: "For me, I had a couple of issues with dialogue. I found that sometimes the subtext in all of the dialogue wasn't emotionally charged — and I found that we were explaining things multiple times.
For me, I had a couple of issues with dialogue.- Devery Jacobs
"I was like, 'OK. We get it. She doesn't want to get married. She doesn't want to have kids. She wants to practice magic.'
"And I feel like we've had that conversation, over and over... I did feel a little bit spoon-fed by the author."
Canada Reads host Ali Hassan: "What are your thoughts on that Rosey?"
Rosey Edeh: "So, as far as that repetition goes, in track and field with athletes, you have to repeatedly tell yourself in your mind that you can do something. You have to say it over and over again. Repetition is the key to success — and this is what she does because it's a battle of the mind.
"This story all takes place right up here [in your mind]. Whether she's battling spirits or societal oppression, it all happens here. From page one, she decides, she knows that she does not want to live that life, but she can't express it, she has to keep it inside, so it lives within her mind. So it's almost like walking through this world and being told 'no' at every turn. Everywhere you go, there's a 'no.'
"I think of representative Jean Augustine, the MP representative who tried to push for a long time to get Black History Month recognized throughout Canada. Do you know how many 'noes'' she must've come against?
This story all takes place right up here [in your mind].- Rosey Edeh
"Sometimes, it might seem like it's being said over and over again, but it's because it's a battle of the mind and a journey of the mind, which Beatrice takes.
"Even the spirits are part of her mind. And so it's through repetition — and only through that repetition in which you can fortify yourself, fortify your mind, body and your soul, in order to fight those battles, which is patriarchy, which is those societal pressures in which she does not want to live in, which is the ability to stand in your truth."
The Canada Reads 2021 champions and their chosen books are:
- Rosey Edeh champions The Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk
- Scott Helman champions Two Trees Make a Forest by Jessica J. Lee
- Devery Jacobs champions Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead
- Paul Sun-Hyung Lee champions Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots
- Roger Mooking champions Butter Honey Pig Bread by Francesca Ekwuyasi
Here's how you can tune into Canada Reads 2021:
ON TV: CBC TV will broadcast Canada Reads at 1 p.m. ET, CST, MT, PT; at 2 p.m. in AT; and at 2:30pm in Newfoundland and Labrador.
ONLINE: CBC Books will livestream the debates at 11 a.m. ET on CBCBooks.ca, YouTube, Facebook and Gem. The debates will be available to replay online each day. The livestreams on YouTube and Facebook will be available to watch outside Canada.