CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Watmough, David
Toronto, HarperCollins, 1992. 308pp, cloth, $24.95, ISBN 0-00-223887-X. CIP


Reviewed by Joanne K.A. Peters

Volume 20 Number 4
1992 September

My Mother's Glass covers approximately forty-five years in the life and relationships of David Bryant, described by Watmough as a "twentieth century man who happens to be an author, an immigrant, and a homosexual." Previous works by Watmough have explored other facets of Bryant's life. This volume attempts to examine the ways in which Davey Bryant is his mother's son, a reflection that is alluded to in the book's title.

I confess that, by book's end, I was still left wondering about the extent to which Bryant is indeed his "mother's glass." Certainly, they share some strong similarities: both are excellent story-tellers, both defy the conventions of the eras and societies in which they live, both love to travel, and both come to vest their closest relationships in members of the same sex.

Watmough has an excellent ear for the voices of his characters, and he successfully uses a variety of techniques to tell their stories: he alternates narrators and points of view, uses diary and letter to provide additional facets of the characterization, and establishes a strong sense of immediacy with Davey, his first-person narrator of much of the book. But by the end, I found myself caring very little about either Davey or his mother, and about whether they would come to terms with some of the major conflicts in their relationship.

I wondered whether this was because I, as a late twentieth-century female, a fourth-generation Canadian, and heterosexual, could not somehow enter imaginatively into Davey Bryant's world. The fact of David Bryant's homosexuality is central to his identity, and although many of the conflicts he faced are common to everyone, irrespective of gender or sexual orientation, it seemed that his perspective tended to limit and particularize, rather than enlarge and universalize the problems all human beings must confront.

Gay adolescents find few literary role models, and for that reason alone, librarians and teacher-librarians should be aware of Watmough's work. However, anyone choosing to acquire this book for a school collection should be aware that Watmough depicts both the emotional and physical dimensions of homosexual relationships (both male and female) quite frankly. Read the book before making the decision to purchase and prepare a rationale for it, just in case your choice is challenged.

Joanne K.A. Peters is a teacher-librarian at Sisler High School in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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

francaisDigital Collections / Collections Numérisees francais