CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Ritchie, Charles.

Toronto, Macmillan, 1987. 165pp, cloth, $19.95. ISBN 0-7715-9512-3. CIP

Grades 12 and up
Reviewed by Ted Monkhouse

Volume 16 Number 2
1988 March

This is Ritchie's fifth delightful recollection of memories and the one that precedes his diplomatic career. The others, The Siren Years (Macmillan, 1974), An Appetite for Life (Macmillan, 1977), Diplomatic Passport* and Storm Signals** chronicle his career. All draw the reader into a world seen through an eye especially talented at chronicling the human condition. My Grandfather's House is peopled with those characters of his childhood-uncles, cousins, parents, governesses, teachers. Each lends special flavour to the early twentieth century as Ritchie and his mother move back and forth between Halifax and Europe. Delightful reflections in elegant prose make this book difficult to put down. Childhood memories of refugees of economic and political systems met while Ritchie was a student at elite schools or a traveller on the Continent portray an era seen and experienced by a privileged few.

For the middle-aged reader, the book is sheer enjoyment. The lucid, descriptive language appeals. Young adults and senior high school students will appreciate the language and can savour an era with a sensitive teacher. These vignettes should be included in some aspect of Canadian literature studies and/or history. The Bolshevik revolution, World War I, the Depression, etc. are portrayed from within by those who experienced these world events and those who brushed against them. Ritchie brings to life the flavour of an era that is disappearing as first-hand experiences diminish.

Ted Monkhouse, Wellington County Board of Education, Guelph, Ont.

*Reviewed vol. X/2 1982 p. 101.
*Reviewed vol. Xll/1 January 1984 p. 37.

line indexes


1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


The materials in this archive are copyright © The Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission Copyright information for reviewers

Young Canada Works