Romancing Mary JanełA Year in the Life of a Failed Marijuana Grower

by Michael Poole
258 pages,
ISBN: 1550547496

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Brief Reviews
by Jo-Anne Mary Benson

It is always a pleasure to come across a book that informs the reader as much as it entertains. This happens to be the case with Michael Poole's, Romancing Mary Jane. Poole's objective was to provide a candid glimpse of his entrepreneurial experience as a cannabis gardener. Readers will find this to be an entertaining adventure tale, which still manages to produce a balanced study of marijuana and its impact on society.
Poole, a fifty-plus, well-renown filmmaker, frequently battled bouts of serious depression. As a possible solution to this problem, he left his secure lifestyle to seek something different. Poole chose to explore the world of cultivation and sale of marijuana. The setting for Poole's journey of self-discovery was the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. Readers will become intimately acquainted with Poole's new surroundings as well the seasonal changes and tribulations facing his assorted gardens.
The narrative is absorbing. Whether delivering a humorous tale, factual information, or random musings, Poole consistently captures and maintains the reader's attention. His lifestyle was simple, his daily routine disciplined and physically challenging, but Poole's observations of his environment are refreshing and interesting.
Readers will also enjoy the variety of unusual characters such as Ned, the author's marijuana mentor, Brett and Carrie, big time bunker hydroponic growers, Hoot and Pete, Dieter, and so on. Each one shares humorous or frightening tales revolving mainly around marijuana cultivation from seed to harvest. In the wilds of British Columbia, the author discovers marijuana growing is an acquired skill. The growers' plots are sought out by the police in their helicopters or are invaded by hikers looking for a quick and free supply. As a result, safety and camouflage were a frequent topic of discussion between the author and his associates.
What is particularly rewarding in Romancing Mary Jane is the way the factual information is integrated to complement the narrative. Poole has done extensive research and delivers a superb overview of this illegal marijuana industry. He frequently quotes from books, citing laws, reports, and studies to support his writing. Readers will be interested in how drug laws in Canada and the United States differ or coincide. The type of marijuana available is also a lengthy subject, introducing readers to such names as Skunk Passion, Night Queen and Dutch Treat. Importing of drugs, their economic value, and the medicinal/therapeutic uses are just some of the many other topics that Poole explores in detail.
Concluding his book Poole offers a summary of "cannabis facts and fables" and addresses ten myths such as "marijuana impairs motivation and performance". He further supports his research with notes broken down by chapter which can serve as suggestions for those interested in additional reading.
Romancing Mary Jane is a rewarding memoir and an appealing tale that will entertain all readers. ņ

Reviewed by Jo-Anne Mary Benson, a writer for magazines, newspapers, and journals.

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