Sunday, July 13, 2008

BOOK: Crow Lake by Mary Lawson

Crow Lake by Mary Lawson

2nd Canadian Challenge, What an Animal!

Something in this book just broke my heart. I was sobbing by page 50, and I haven't read a book that has made me cry in a while. I really enjoyed this book and sometimes that makes it even harder to write a little review. I'm going to go to fall back on some review questions to see if that can help me organize my thoughts.

Title and author of book? Crow Lake by Mary Lawson

Fiction or non-fiction? Genre? fiction, contemporary. Maybe Canadian, if Canadian is a genre, but I think there is more in the relationships that anyone can relate to.

What led you to pick up this book? It's Canadian, and I've read many great reviews.

Summarize the plot, but don't give away the ending! The Morrisons- Luke, Matt, Kate and Bo are four siblings living on Crow Lake in Northern Ontario. Tragedy strikes their family, and Kate narrates their life story, and the interactions with the other members of their small community.

What did you like most about the book? I loved the science stuff: Kate is a zoologist, and her brother introduced her to pond life as a youngster. This led to her research and the studying of surfactants and their role in the pond life. "The marking of lab reports is one of the most depressing activities known to man." ha! I loved that line.

I loved the family interactions, and how each person's memories are their own, but not necessarily the truth, just their perception of an event. I loved the characters of the brothers, Luke and Matt.

Have you read any other books by this author? What did you think of those books?No, but I understand there is another book by Lawson, The Other Side of the Bridge, that is somewhat similar.

What did you think of the main character? Kate narrated her version of how things turned out, so there was a bit of a bias, but not in the way you expect. It's her perception of the events that might be off. That's really the crux of the ending though. Kate used a lot of forshadowing, which I appreciated. She got us to the 'big event' with a lot of suspence, and analysis.

Any other particularly interesting characters?

Small town Canada will always be populated with interesting characters. Many of the neighbours were unique and amusing.

I really liked Luke, the oldest brother. Kate didn't have as much of a connection with Luke and I think she missed out a lot. She was more obsessed with Matt and his life choices, when Luke made the same sacrifices.

Aunt Annie who came to stay with the kids was given such a difficult job, and she was a good mix of tough and soft; Daniel, Kate's present day boyfriend was a good counter-balance to her reticence and reserve

Share a quote from the book:

"...on the way back we flew very low over northern Ontario, and that in itself made the trip worthwhile. I was staggered by the vastness of it. The emptiness. We flew over miles and miles of nothing, of rocks and trees and lakes, beautiful and desolate an remote as the moon."

Share a favorite scene from the book.

I liked the scene where Marie confronted Kate, and made her look at how she viewed Matt's choices.

Any scene with the youngest sister, Bo, was usually amusing, and I really loved the way Luke looked after Bo.

What about the ending?
The ending was great. It tied up the past and the present and was a perfect ending. Kate learned about herself, and Matt, and family, and love.

Other people have reviewed this book, including: stephanie , guatami , the book mine set , ramya and joy . They all liked it, and wrote really great reviews.


  1. While we both enjoyed the book, I wasn't keen on the science stuff. But, like you, I did attach to the characters.

  2. You've made this book sound really intriguing, though I still don't have a clear idea what it's about! Beyond the very general, I mean. I think I will like "the science stuff". Adding it to my TBR.

  3. john - luckily there wasn't so much science as to distract if you didn't like it, but just enough if you did.

    jeane - I don't like to give the plot away too much, some of the ohter reviews give more of a synopsis. It's just about a family and growing up in an isolated community. I like to read a book with our knowing too much before I begin, so it's like I've discovered it.

  4. I think i read this a few years back and can't for the life of me remember anything about it! Might have to go on the re-read list!

  5. I think I must be the only one in the world who didn't like it... I just couldn't connect with it somehow!

  6. This book has been sitting on my bedside table for way too long. I definitly need to make sure I get to it for the Can Challenge this year.

  7. Yours is the second wonderful review of this book I've read this week. If I didn't already have it on my wish list, it sure would be there now.

  8. Oh...I'm so glad you liked this book!! I thought it was absolutely fantastic!! I loved Luke too. And Bo. And you are right...the scene at the end with Marie was probably the best in the book.

  9. Wonderful review! This has been on my TBR for too long, I think I will reading for the Canadian
    Books Challenge as well.

  10. I enjoyed this book so much that I passed it along to me teenage daughter (love that I can do that now). She fell in love with "Laurie" ... cried and cried. The book now resides in her room with, "The Other Side of the Bridge". I've yet to read that one but she says it is good too.


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