Saturday, November 23

Book Review: Emancipation Day

Title: Emancipation Day

Author: Wayne Grady

Pages: 326

Summary: How far would a son go to belong? And how far would a father go to protect him?

With his curly black hair and his wicked grin, everyone swoons and thinks of Frank Sinatra when Navy musician Jackson Lewis takes the stage. It's World War II, and while stationed in St. John's, Newfoundland, Jack meets the well-heeled, romantic Vivian Clift, a local girl who has never stepped off the Rock and is desperate to see the world. They marry against Vivian's family's wishes--hard to say what it is, but there's something about Jack that they just don't like--and as the war draws to a close, the new couple travels to Windsor to meet Jack's family.

But when Vivian meets Jack's mother and brother, everything she thought she knew about her new husband gets called into question. They don't live in the dream home that Jack depicted, they all look different from one another--and different from anyone Vivian has ever seen--and after weeks of waiting to meet Jack's father, William Henry, he never materializes.

My Rating: 8.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: A fairly good read and while there were some issues I had with the book, it ended up being a very good and memorable book for me.

There were a lot of elements to the book I enjoyed, the overall story was interesting. I think the author did a good job at showing issues of race and brought a very realistic outlook on the setting and time the book was set in. Having some familiarity with the city of Windsor, I enjoyed reading about some of the familiar spots.

The writing was excellent and it was what initially drew me into the book and kept me reading until the end - and the last few page of the book, were extraordinary and chilling - it worked great for the story as a whole, and I have to say, it was a bit of surprise in how the author ended the book, but I think it worked well. It definitely is a memorable ending, the last few word stick with you long after you've finished.

The characters were well written for who they were, but this was another case where I felt somewhat disconnected from them. I also found some of them to be a bit foolish, perhaps it was just blatant denial to the point they believed it was reality, but I struggled with understanding how certain characters thought process worked and how they seemed surprised at certain discoveries throughout the book.

Overall it was a book I enjoyed, and is among my favourites off of this years Giller Longlist.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, there were some issues I had with the book, but I found it to be an engaging read, one well worth reading.

What to read next: The other Giller Longlisted books, Half Blood Blues

Challenges: 7th Annual Canadian Book Challenge


  1. Just heard that Shelagh Rogers will be interviewing Wayne Grady on The Next Chapter on CBC next Saturday afternoon. Might be worth checking out!

    1. Although it's now to late, thanks for the heads up!