________________ CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 3 . . . . September 16, 2011


The Year Mrs. Montague Cried.

Susan White.
Charlottetown, PEI: Acorn Press, 2010.
158 pp., pbk., $12.95.
ISBN 978-1-894838-57-3

Grades 5-7 / Ages 10-12.

Review by Alicia Cheng.

**** /4



September 26

Everybody died. That would be an ending that pulls everything together. Everybody died. Everybody was gone. Nobody was there anymore. Anymore. No more. I’m stuck on that. No more. My Grampie died when I was six. He is no more. I see his picture in a gold frame on top of the piano at Grammie’s, and I remember him a bit when I really try. Mrs. Montague’s son is no more. No more. When people die there is no more of them. If my mom died there would be no more of her. If I died there would be no more of me. I don’t like what I’m writing today. If I had enough white-out I would white this all out. I’m going to stop writing about it and write about something happier.

Taylor is nine in September 2002. She is in Mrs. Montague’s grade four class again, and she thinks it will be the best school year. And it is until Mrs. Montague cries in class. Taylor finds out that Mrs. Montague’s son has died in a car accident. This is the first time death is so close to Taylor. As her teacher goes through the loss of her son, Taylor is also faced with a possible death in her family. Her brother, Corey, is diagnosed with cancer. While her parents focus on Corey’s illness and journeys to Halifax for possible treatments, Taylor also goes on a journey of personal growth and healing.

      The Year Mrs. Montague Cried is Taylor’s journal of the school year in 2002, a year that she cannot forget and is impossible to forget. It tracks Mrs. Montague’s loss of her son and Taylor’s family as her brother fights for his life. This journal is also a form of healing for Taylor. It is the year from her point of view, in her own words. It is a place for her to pour her feelings into. Most importantly, it is also a place where she reflects on what has happened, why it has happened, and how she can deal with these problems. In reading her journal, readers’ hearts will go out to Taylor, and they will want to be there for her and help her in her time of need. The journal style allows readers to hear Taylor’s voice as she details the day-to-day life changing events in her life.

      The Year Mrs. Montague Cried, a touching novel by Susan White, deals with family, death, and healing through time and story. The novel takes readers through a painful process of grief, acceptance, and then finally courage when faced with death. Taylor’s journal is a moving account of her difficult year in which she learns to accept her brother’s illness and to deal with the tension and strain in her relationships with her parents, her brother, and her relatives. This novel has been awarded the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia 2010 Atlantic Writing Competition.

Highly Recommended.

Alicia Cheng is a Children’s Librarian at the Vancouver Public Library in Vancouver, BC.

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

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