Sunday, January 30, 2011

BOOK: The Bone Cage by Angie Abdou

The Bone Cage by Angie Abdou, 235 pages

Canada Reads 2011

If you've ever wondered about those athletes who appear at the Olympics representing your country (especially if it's Canada), and what it took to get there, this book provides a gritty look at two athletes who are on their last chance. Digger and Sadie, the wrestler and the swimmer, are both getting a chance at their first and  last Olympics. Each at the end of their careers, they have done nothing else in their lives. They alternate chapters with their practice, as they deal with some life interruptions.

The first half of the book isn't so much of a story, as developing their characters and their challenges. At the half way point, thank goodness, the characters meet and the story feels like it begins. Abdou uses her setting of Calgary well, as I recognized places and streets. Calgary is a center of Olympic development in Canada after hosting the Winter Olympics in 1988. What will each of them do after the Olympics? Sadie and Digger have to face this question, and the single-minded determination needed to get as far as they have.

I enjoyed this book, but as far as Canada Reads go, I can't imagine it will go far. I've enjoyed the other books more. But as a credit to a great selection of books this year, The Bone Cage is still a good read.


  1. Oh, thanks for the review. I had no idea what this book even was when I heard the title... Now I have a general idea. I am sure I will read it eventually. :)

  2. I wasn't predicting that I'd enjoy it, but I didn't think it would be slow. Now I'm reluctant to bother. I will, of course, but without enthusiasm. With Unless (and I do like Unless) and the Birth House, both of which are also on the slow side, things are looking up for the funny book and the comic.

  3. Kailana - glad I could help! Some people have really loved it.

    john - What I thought was slow, my mother thought showed the practice regime. I have very vivid images as described by Abdou about swimming and wrestling training, a credit to her writing. I just finished all the books, and lean to Unless or Essex County as my favorite books.

  4. I thought the characterization was strong and the theme was more versatile than I expected. And the writing was solid. But where I wish there had been just a little more was in the use of language; if she had taken some of the aspects of the specific sports and let them infiltrate her prose, in each of the character's sections, I think it would have left a stronger impression on me and cinched the literary deal. Still, I liked it.


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