Jennie's Boy

Jennie's Boy is a book by Wayne Johnston.

Wayne Johnston

A cutout black and white photo of a small boy standing with his arms behind his back sits inside of the "O" in "Boy" in the title of the book cover, "Jennie's Boy." The entire book cover is blue but inside the "O" is yellow.

For six months between 1966 and 1967, Wayne Johnston and his family lived in a wreck of a house across from his grandparents in Goulds, Newfoundland. At seven, Wayne was sickly and skinny, unable to keep food down, plagued with insomnia and a relentless cough that no doctor could diagnose, though they had already removed his tonsils, adenoids and appendix. To the neigh­bours, he was known as "Jennie's boy," a back­handed salute to his tiny, ferocious mother, who felt judged for Wayne's condition at the same time as worried he might never grow up.

Unable to go to school, Wayne spent his days with his witty, religious, deeply eccentric mater­nal grandmother, Lucy. During these six months of Wayne's childhood, he and Lucy faced two life-or-death crises, and only one of them lived to tell the tale.

Jennie's Boy is Wayne's tribute to a family and a community that were simultaneously fiercely protective of him and fed up with having to make allowances for him. His boyhood was full of pain, yes, but also tenderness and Newfoundland wit. By that wit, and through love—often expressed in the most unloving ways—Wayne survived. (From Knopf Canada)

Wayne Johnston is a novelist, born and raised in Goulds, Newfoundland. Before becoming a full-time writer, he worked as a reporter for St. John's Daily News. His fiction work has often focused on historical depictions of life in Newfoundland and Labrador. 

Johnston's first book The Story of Bobby O'Malley, released in 1985, won the Books in Canada/W.H. Smith First Novel Award. His 1999 memoir Baltimore's Mansion received the RBC Taylor Prize. The Colony of Unrequited Dreams, published in 1998, was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and was a Canada Reads finalist in 2003, defended by Justin Trudeau. Johnston is also the author of novels First Snow, Last LightThe Divine Ryans and The Navigator of New York.

Interviews with Wayne Johnston

Wayne Johnston talks to Shelagh Rogers about his book, Jennie's Boy: A Newfoundland Childhood.

Other books by Wayne Johnson

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