Up in Ontario

by James Sherrett
ISBN: 0888012861

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A Review of: Up in Ontario
by W. P. Kinsella

I would surmise that this was a collection of related stories, that with a few bridges became a sort of novel. I also surmise that the work is heavily autobiographical, for surely no one could create from their imagination such utterly boring material. A major problem is that everyone is sickeningly nice. The most dramatic thing that happens is that a very young boy gets a fishhook caught in his knee which his father has to cut free.
There is also a scene where a couple of characters rescue a stranger who has fallen through the ice in a river. Gil Dubois grows up in the Lake of the Woods, Ontario area. He meets and marries a city girl (from Winnipeg); they have a son; they divorce amicably. He is a fine father who teaches his son all about fishing and hunting. This is what most of the book is about and it is boring, boring, boring. If I want to read 30-page chapters about catching a fish I will buy an outdoors magazine for three dollars, and read the opinions of experts.
The boy, Wade, grows up and finds himself a girlfriend, and there is an inane chapter telling of their drive, from Kenora to the mountains of Alberta, that reads like really bad travel writing. Amateur writers when stuck for an ending kill off a main character, and this is what happens here. Characters are introduced, an alcoholic brother of Gil's, a friend going through a marriage breakup, but once introduced they vanish forever and are forgotten, just like this book will be.

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