Tuesday, September 12, 2023

68. A Terrible Tide by Suzanne Mead

Books are being read slowly this fall here at Olman's Fifty.  I'm stuck on a French children's book my daughter aggressively pushed me to read and it's blocking all other reading progress.  I found A Terrible Tide at the Salvation Army in Langley (don't ask) and thought she might enjoy it (i.e learn from it, I've become the worst pushy Didactic Dad).  I am always trying to expose her to the concept of "Canada" as it gets more and more elusive in this global age.

A Terrible Tide is a fictional retelling of the real 1929 earthquake and tidal wave that hit Newfoundland and nearly destroyed many of the communities on the Burin peninsula.  I did not know about this event, nor did I even know about the Burin peninsula, so I was also educated!  At that time, the peninsula was not connected by land to the rest of the island.  People got around with boats, most of which were destroyed.  Furthermore, the one telegram/phone line had been downed in an earlier storm, so they also had no way to communicate.

The protagonist is Celia, the middle child of the X family.  It's her birthday and the dinner party gets rudely and brutally cut off as first the earthquake sends the family out of the house and then the tidal wave grabs her.  It's all quite adventurous with the bonus of an awesome dog (a Newfoundland of course) named Boomer.    The book is written at the young adult level, so fairly simple in its telling, yet with a lot going on.  I was caught up in it for the most part and I think my daughter was too (the clue is in the level of resistance beyond wanting to stay up when I say it's time to stop reading).  You really get a sense of how it must feel and what you have to deal with when your house is entirely destroyed and you have to decide whether to rebuild or to move and start again.  It also gives a nice perspective on a time and place where material goods were quite limited and pleasure comes from smaller, more important things like family and place.  This was a cool book.

1 comment:

Kate M. said...

Parallels with the recent event in Libya, maybe.