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James, Phyllis.

Qualicum Beach (B.C.), Phyllis James, c1984. 111pp, paper, $7.95. Distributed by the author, Box 1031, Qualicum Beach, B.C., VOR 2TO.

Grades 9 and up
Reviewed by Mary Fallis

Volume 13 Number 1
1985 January

The author seems to have been a friend of the family of Frederic Freeman whose story is told in this book. Her information came from his two daughters and his grandchildren.

The story is simply told chronologically, with favourite family anecdotes included. The book will be a treasure for the large numbers of Freemans of the third and fourth generations.

The foreword contains interesting comments on the experience of minority ethnic groups as they arrived in nineteenth-century Canada and faced the hardships of breaking land. Frederic Freeman belonged to the type of educated middle-class English very anxious to establish a good life for his family. After a stint in the Muskoka bush, he moved to Proton Station, then a remote railway stop, and built a general store. He was pleased to find that the store became a meeting place for the community. There, plans were developed to build a one-room school and later the community's first church, meant to be non-denominational.

There are nice glimpses of rural life: pioneer hospitality with whole families taken in by neighbours in time of crisis; bonds with the father's English family kept strong by letters and, later, visits back and forth; and possession of a complete Shakespeare and family reading of the plays.

The story ends with a family reunion of succeeding generations and an assessment of what the father and mother of this clan meant to them. The book would serve as a supplementary source on pioneer life in Ontario, and especially on the attitudes and activities of children in communities where there were few conveniences and everybody worked.

Mary Fallis, Prince George, B.C.
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