When Taylor is just nine years old, her brother Corey becomes terminally ill. During this time she writes a journal that mirrors her family’s journey through treatment, separation, coming to terms with a terminal illness, and the possible loss of a sibling. It is a touching story of relationships and personal growth, which encourages discussion of many important issues faced by young adults. The novel – Susan White’s first – won the young adult category of the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia 2010 Atlantic Writing Competition.
About the author
Sue White was born in New Brunswick and moved from one New Brunswick city to another. As a teenager her family moved to the Kingston Peninsula and she only left long enough to earn her BA and BEd at St. Thomas University in Fredericton. Settling on the peninsula, she and her husband raised four children and ran a small farm while she taught elementary school. Since retiring she is grateful to now have the time to work on her writing and the freedom to regularly visit her new granddaughter in Alberta. Her previous books include Ten Thousand Truths and The Year Mrs. Montague Cried, which won the Ann Connor Brimer Award. Visit her website at author-susan-white.blogspot.ca.
The Year Mrs. Montague CriedTaylor Anne Broderson is nine years old and in Grade 4. She is in Mrs. Montague’s class, and this story is her journal. Mrs. M gives them time to write in their journals each day. She reads them wonderful books, which they then talk about together. But this is a difficult year for Mrs. M. Her oldest son, Zachary, has recently died in a car accident. Some days she has to go home; sometimes she is very quiet and sad; sometimes she tells them stories about Zac. And sometimes — many times — she cries.
Taylor records all of her feelings of sadness and helplessness and concern for Mrs. M. She also talks about the ups and downs of her own daily life. Then her brother Corey gets sick. Very sick. In her journal, Taylor pours out all of her fears, frustrations and heartache as she and her family try to process this terrifying turn of events. While Taylor and her classmates try to support their beloved Mrs. M through this challenging time, Taylor also struggles to navigate the choppy waters of her own inner turmoil.
A shining gem, this book is heartbreakingly beautiful — simple, sweet and timeless. Author Susan White magnificently captures Taylor’s voice, and each journal entry perfectly describes, in a voice clear and true, the very real thoughts and feelings of a nine-yearold girl who is coping with both the major and the mundane. The random lists that she develops, her reactions to the books that she reads both on her own and in class, and her feelings of uncertainty about what to say to Mrs. M as she watches her struggle are as deeply affecting as her attempts to outline and understand the things that are happening to Corey. This journal is a source of solace and healing for Taylor and it offers that and more to readers of any age.
Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Summer 2012. Volume 35 No. 3.