CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 33 . . . . April 27, 2018
Watching Traffic takes place in the small town of Cavanaugh the summer that Emily has graduated from high school. Emily has no idea what to do with her life, but she knows she wants to stop being known as "Suicide Girl", a name she was given because she was found at the age of three in a hotel room with her mother who had committed suicide. Emily's friend Lincoln is preparing to go travelling around Australia, and her best friend Melissa is packing up to move to Halifax to go to university. Emily is grappling with either staying at her job making sandwiches for Pamela's Country Kitchen or going to college in Toronto. Emily's world is about to change drastically, and she must decide what she wants to do. Emily is trying to break away from her past and move forward with her life. She begins to meet new people, namely Tyler, who help her begin thinking about what to do with her life now that high school is over.
Readers of Watching Traffic are taken to a time in a young adult's life when they must decide what they want to do with their life. Emily begins to think about moving away from the town where everyone knows about her mother's suicide. Emily also seems to become closer both to her father and her grandmother who helped raise her after her mother's suicide. Readers will get swept up in this short novel about that magical summer where the possibilities in life are endless.
I recommend Watching Traffic to readers who enjoy quiet, contemplative fiction. The novel has strong, well-developed female characters, including a lesbian character, with whom female readers may identify. Fans of Miriam Toews may also enjoy this novel as Jane Ozkowski's style is reminiscent of Toews' work.
Sarah Wethered has been a teacher-librarian at New Westminster Secondary School for 18 years, and she currently lives in New Westminster, BC.