________________ CM . . . . Volume VI Number 19 . . . . May 26, 2000

cover Spider Women: A Tapestry of Creativity and Healing.

Joan Turner and Carol Rose, Editors.
Winnipeg, MB: J. Gordon Shillingford Publishing Inc., 1999.
367 pp., pbk., $29.95.
ISBN 1-896239-44-7.

Subject Headings:
Canadian literature (English)-Women authors.
Canadian literature (English)-20th century.

Grades 10 and up / Ages 15 and up.
Review by Stephanie Yamniuk.

**** /4


Weave. Pattern. Design. Create. Texture. Intertwine. Braid. These are all words to describe what the wisdom of Canadian writers, artists, therapists, academics, musicians, educators and others do in this tapestry of women's stories of healing.

Children dare to dream. They dare to draw bright rainbows and make cards that say in big, bold letters, I LOVE YOU. Unless they have been yanked into premature adulthood, they still value play. Their endurance, adaptability and energy keep them going, even if they haven't had a good breakfast. As they grow older, some of them, knowing they are defying the odds, will reach for the beckoning sky. Some of them will fall. And some of them will remain in cages, 'staring at the rain, maddened by the stars.' (excerpt from M. Joan Baragar's essay, "Outside the Sky Waits").

The heart of the power of Spider Women is the persistent spirit of those who have suffered, and women's joy in helping each other. It is a very positive spin on the common "I am a victimized woman" type of writing so common in literature today. These women are warriors, using imagery and language to fight off discrimination and despair. In these works of imagination, women strive to discover the relationship between creativity and healing.

The book is composed of stories, poems, photographs, paintings, songs and essays, written by women who have either overcome a difficult passage in their life, or who are the caregivers of women in difficult situations. As I read these works of imagination, I felt inspired to create something for myself, to tell my story. This is the type of book that may encourage a woman to open up to her past and begin the healing process. There is a feeling of having a safe place as you read, and you never feel as if you're too young or too old to relate to the stories of these writers and artists.

An educator could use this book as a springboard for discussion in small groups, discussing issues of sexual abuse, violence, divorce, death or illness. The book gives many examples of different ways of dealing with difficult times. There is no right or wrong way of healing or being creative. Just be willing.

The authors include Joan Turner, a therapist in private practice, and a writer, teacher and counselor, Carol Rose.

Highly Recommended.

Stephanie Yamniuk, who has taught grades 1-12, is currently a freelance writer and works at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, MB.

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

Copyright © 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