Sydney AveyDynamic Women — Changing Times
Two Book Reviews: The Canyon House and Silence
I met the Janice Gilbertson, author of The Canyon House, at a Women Writing the West Conference in Tucson, and write the West she does. Set in California’s Central Valley in the mid-twentieth century, the story is reminiscent of the days when allowing children to roam freely was considered formative instead of neglectful. The unhurried pace of life at that time makes room for the slow build to the shocking events that turn ten-year-old Poppy’s life upside down.
Young Poppy has already experienced the isolation of the impoverished country kid, a role she embraces with fierce pride. When she witnesses a crime, such is her moral outrage that she cannot remain silent. To speak out will set her even farther apart from her schoolmates. But in the long run, that courage will serve her well.
The Canyon House is a deeply thoughtful story about family, friendship, and resilience. Chock full of life lessons, my favorite is this one: “Mama said each decision we make guides the course of things, even though we’re not aware of it.”
A meditation on a hard-won state of mind that can refresh and uplift people, and in some cases shift them into that creative space where art, music, poetry, and radical new ideas are born. Kagge explains why we more easily gravitate toward unsatisfying activities (checking Facebook for new posts) rather than seeking moments to enter silence. To my mind, it’s like piano practice. It requires gentle patience and discipline before you enter into the joy.
© Sydney Avey