________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 14 . . . . March 7, 2008


All-Season Edie.

Annabel Lyon.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2008.
179 pp., pbk., $8.95.
ISBN 978-1-55143-713-2.

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.

Review by Brianne Grant.

*** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.


“OH MY GOD,” I say, rubbing my eyes. “You’re making my breakfast.”

“I’m in charge,” Dexter says.

Normally I would dispute this kind of a claim loudly and lengthily, appealing to Mom, and Dad too if he hadn’t already left for work. But there’s an eerie quiet to the house this morning, and Dexter has not automatically told me to shut up, which is bizarre. She also looks tired, more tired than her normal roll-out-of-bed tired, and her mouth is a bit raisiny, like Mom’s when she gets worried or annoyed.

“Where’s Mom?” I ask.

“They had to go to the hospital,” Dexter says. “We have to get ourselves ready for school.”

Eleven-year-old Edie is keenly aware of the world around her, and yet her delightfully childish perspective has a unique and playful way of interpreting this world and her place in it. All-Season Edie begins with a summer in the Gulf Islands, and, after a complicated and eventful year, it ends back at the same cottage. The deliberate pacing of the story winds its way through the sweet, sometimes bratty, and often humorous perspective of Edie.

     Edie’s grandpa has a stroke before they embark on their first summer vacation, and his health rapidly declines over the year. Edie watches as her dad and mom struggle with this tragedy and attempt to shelter her from it. Her 13-year-old sister, Dexter, feels infinitely more mature than Edie and often either steps in to fill the adult role or just snubs her with typical older sibling style. Dexter is rooted in social constructions and is determined to act, fit in and be treated as a young woman. Edie remains in a place of transition. She still acts out with childlike behaviour, and her outlook is rife with creative energy. Despite this, she slowly becomes more conscious of the teenage world ahead of her, although, she refuses to walk that road.

     As a female protagonist, Edie is distinct. Her character development is subtle, and her feelings often remain complicated rather than coming to a simplified resolution. The tumultuous relationship between Dexter and Edie exposes the frustrating, difficult and confusing nature of siblings with glimpses of love in between. The way the family, as a whole, copes with tragedy remains true to life but is invigorated by the lovable voice of Edie.


Brianne Grant, who is a student in the Master of Arts in Children’s Literature at the University of British Columbia, is also Executive Councillor-West for IBBY Canada.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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ISSN 1201-9364
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