Canada also, as if they needed something to make them cooler, has a national reading program called Canada Reads. In which, a group of books is selected as contenders for that year's Read. Canadian scholars and celebrities are then selected to defend one of the books in a series of public debates in which a single book is selected as that year's winner. I repeat, Canadians are the coolest people ever. A close friend of mine from graduate school clued me into this awesomeness and while I don't follow it religiously, it has added a few books to me to-read list over the last couple of years. Jessica Grant's Come, Thou Tortoise is one of those books.
Any book which ponders toonies, loonies and Timbits must be enjoyed in my book. However, it was a slightly frustrating read. Audrey is a complicated character, a woman that you never quite figure out. She isn't the best narrator for one thing; is she confused, is there some sort of mental disorder here or has she willfully blocked out reality so well that she really does not see what is right in front of her? As the reader, you have to pay close attention to the few facts you get because that is the only way to try to read between the lines of Audrey's convoluted world view. I much preferred Winnifred's chapters. She is a tortoise who knows what is up. She spends a majority of the book with Chuck and Linda, the people Audrey has taking care of Winnie while she is in Canada. Chuck is a thwarted Shakespearean (aka an out of work actor) who uses Winnie as a bookmark and keeps telling her how inviting the Willamette River looks from the window.
I also enjoyed Jessica Grant's play with language. It's not something that works outside of books (Jasper Fforde does this a lot in his work) but I always enjoy when I come across it as it shows the medium of the book doing something no movie or TV show can do. However, Audrey takes the language into her speech and in that case, it does get old. When she's first told that her father is in a coma from an accident, she keeps calling it a comma. This is carried throughout the book, she is even corrected by several characters but she keeps saying comma. It is a coping mechanism of Audrey's and something she does elsewhere as other events take place and while cool on the page, it was one of the more trying features of Audrey's overall character after awhile.
Come, Thou Tortoise is a quirky read but fun and it has the major bonus of lots of Canada love. Downside? I'd really love some Timbits now and the closest Tim Horton's is back home...