CM . . .
. Volume XXIII Number 16. . . .December 23, 2016
Iím Glad I Didnít Kill Myself is the authorís diary, written when she was 15 to 17-years-old from September 1993 to August 1995 during which time her fractious family lived in an Ottawa apartment. She is filled with resentment (and often fury) at her parents while trying to do well academically. However, this diary mainly revolves around her many relationships with the boys she gets involved with and how her girlfriends do or do not support her. Catís first love, Pete, treats her abysmally, and it takes her over a year to figure out that she doesnít have to love him. Subsequent boyfriends - Devon, Mo, Stu, Sam and Juan - lead her through her high school years. At the end of the summer of 1995, threatened physically by her father, Cat leaves home to live with her friend Lana. In an afterword, the reader discovers that Cat marries quickly, has four children, manages to finish high school and obtains both college and university degrees.
Many diary entries are ambiguous, and some major events are never explained. Why was she testifying at a trial to support her friend Lana? What did her father do to her that was so awful many years ago, but for which he was never punished? What illegal thing did she and her friend Camry do that causes her such trepidation? After she eagerly anticipates a meeting with her lawyer (why does she have a lawyer??), she never writes about what happened at the meeting.
The time frame is, of course, pre-cellphone, pre-Facebook, and pre-Internet as the teens write each other and call each other on home landlines. To the present day reader, this book will seem like historical fiction. This diary/memoir reflects a more innocent high school experience that today would seem more junior high in nature. Catís wildly variable emotional life, her anger, despair and occasional happiness apparently reflect her problems with anxiety and depression which she attempts to alleviate through writing.
Iím Glad I Didnít Kill Myself is filled with the minutia and the angst of teenage life, interesting only to the teenagers involved. There are some sloppy editing errors that could easily have been rectified. Some of the entries contain typical high school poetry fuelled by high emotion.
Readers enamoured of the diary/memoir genre may be able to use it as an example for their own writing.
Joan Marshall is a Winnipeg, MB, bookseller.
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other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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.