________________ CM . . . . Volume IV Number 19 . . . . May 22, 1998

Cover Your Name Will Be Sylvia.

Sylvia Dutkewich.
Brandon, MB: Leech Printing, (Distributed by S. Dutkewich, Box 135, Griswold, MB, R0M 0S0), 1997.
154 pp, paperback, $12.00.
ISBN 0-920436-62-5.

Subject Headings:
Dutkewich, Sylvia-Childhood and youth.

Grades 6 and up / Ages 11 and up.
Review by Joan Payzant.

*** /4


As the routine settled in, Sylvia felt a strange feeling coming over her. She didn't know what it was, but it felt awful. It was loneliness! This wasn't home. She didn't know where the ladyslippers grew or where the mushrooms grew and where did the wild ducks make their nests. On the old farm she knew all these things and more. Realization crept over her like a dark cloud. She had been so busy helping the family move and settle in that she didn't grasp the meaning of it all. The old farm was out of her life now. Never again would she run through the familiar fields. Never again would she pick those wild mushrooms and raspberries. The lake! - oh no, the lake. She'd miss the lake and never again hear the familiar sound of the loon. A choking feeling swelled up in her chest and stayed there.
This book is an inspired collection of recollections. The author came with her family, who were White Russian immigrants, to Manitoba, and she writes about the years 1938 to 1956. The anecdotes she has chosen give a colourful picture of her life in those years, told with great sensitivity and honesty. Down-to-earth stories about her hard-working parents' home-building and versatility make almost unbelievable reading. Yet they survived and prospered as a warm, co-operative family, giving their seven children a worthwhile code of conduct, the ability to enjoy and appreciate simple pleasures, and a love of socializing with their neighbours.

      The author dedicates the book to her brothers and sisters, and adds: "This book is written for my grandchildren. You see they have a difficult time understanding the kind of life grandma lived as a child."

      Her grandchildren will get a very complete picture of her life and be astounded at the contrast to their own lives. Even quite young children would enjoy having parts of the book read to them, adventures such as the first day in school; coming upon some wild mountain goats suddenly; a week at summer camp; amusing incidents at Auntie's - accidentally stepping in a pan of bread dough that was rising, and falling into a bucket of soapsuds.

      This book is self-published, and while it lacks the polish of a graphic designer and a professional editor, it more than makes up for it in content and warmth. I hope that the author will write a sequel, though, because it ended rather abruptly and unsatisfactorily with her wedding day which was described as more of an experiment than a well-thought out or romantic decision. The reader is left feeling a little disturbed, wishing for a happier ending.


Joan Payzant is a retired teacher-librarian who lives in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

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

Copyright © 1998 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364