About Heather

Heather has lived on a Canadian Gulf Island for most of her life, but when she was ten or so she lived on a farm in Southern Ontario and that experience is fictionalized in the Patti Stories. However, many of Patti's experiences are a blend of that setting and of raising her own family of three girls in a rural setting on Saltspring Island. These stories draw on the realities of both places and it is this that gives Heather's writing that extra ring of truth.

Heather has been a teacher, a CUSO volunteer in South America, and has sailed the Pacific in a wooden schooner. She has two BA s from the University of Victoria, in English and Psychology and in Creative Writing. She has also published poetry and magazine articles.

She is presently writing an adult novel set on the West Coast.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Non-critical reading versus the other thing.

A problem with examining the elements that come together to make the Patti Stories work, as I have been doing in the discussion topics, is that the whole effect of the story that we experience as we read uncritically, swept up in the characters and their lives, can be lost. How often in the past have we resisted a critical* approach? These books sparkle, they pass on their attitudes fully contained within the text. So, why think about what they are all about? Surely that requires some difficult double reading?

I think that most of us do read uncritically anyway and we can do this with the Patti Stories so easily because the writing is particularly transparent. But if we wish to discuss the stories with others we have to think more closely if we wish to do more than say “Great book, eh?”

In a school context, (and I think these books lend themselves to classroom study) teaching critical thinking, trying to understand major themes and character motivation and the basic assumptions that the author brings to her writing, is important. We can use these skills in the broader context of our future studies, our work lives and our participation in our societies. For example, we are in the midst of an election here in Canada at the moment and an ability to peer through the verbiage to the broader messages of political parties is an essential skill.

Reading critically to understand the Patti Stories will give us the tools to understand a whole lot more.

* Critical in terms of careful study, not negative.

No comments:

Post a Comment