Sunday, December 29, 2013

Lisa's Review: Dear Sad Goat

Dear Sad Goat (A Roundup of Truly Canadian Tales and Letters ) by Bill Richardson

My Rating: 1 of 5 Stars (I tried to give 2 stars but couldn't)

Dear Sad Goat is a collection of letters & stories compiled by Bill Richardson of CBC Radio's Richardson's Roundup from listener contributors to the 'Sad Goat' portion of the show. I have to give full disclosure on my review & rating of the book - I have never listened to Richardson's Roundup - so it's possible my review of the book might be different if I had been familiar with the show.

The Sad Goat portion of Richardson's Roundup was intended for listeners to contribute their own stories through letters or call-in to the show. The call-in number was set up to spell out the call letters RADIO 2 U. After determining that '2 U' might lead to confusion with callers thinking they should spell 'to you' when dialing, Richardson discovered that the number combination also spelled 'Sad Goat' - no confusion there, so 'Sad Goat' was born & caught on. 

So why didn't I enjoy this collection of stories from individuals across Canada? Quite frankly, at the end of most stories I found myself saying "I did not need to know that!" or "Why do I care?". I suppose that in smaller doses, these stories read or told on-air during the show might have been more interesting and amusing. But I found in book format, it was not really enjoyable (at all!).

As much as I did not enjoy the content of this book, I did find 3 positives in the reading:

First - The "About Sad Goat" chapter, written by Richardson was interesting to learn about him, the show, and how Sad Goat came to be.

Second - The way in which Richardson organized the listener stories was clever. The theme or mention of something from one story or set of stories led into the next story. For example, one chapter started out with a series of stories about apartments listeners had lived in...leading into a story from a listener envisioning living in a home like a turtle shell...followed by stories about pet turtles...the last of which involved a girl hitting her thumb with a hammer when making a bed for a pet turtle...which led into stories about listeners who also smacked their thumbs with those losing their thumb nails...including a farmer who continued to carry his lost thumbnail around in his pocket (falling under the category of "I did not need to know that!")...onto stories about objects listeners held onto...and on and on. So the fact I was not interested in the content of the stories, I found myself tracking how Richardson tied the flow of the stories together.

Third - There was actually one story in the book that I did enjoy! It was from Lance Anderson, who played piano on Mr. Dressup's retirement tour, and provided a little insight into what Ernie Coombs (better known as Mr. Dressup) was like as a person. This story brought back great memories from my childhood daily ritual of watching the adventures of Mr. Dressup, Casey, Finnegan, the tree house, the tickle trunk & made me wish that Lance Anderson had written a little bit more.

This is my fourth book read for the 7th Annual Canadian Book Challenge.


  1. I love that you found things to praise in a book you didn't like. Excellent review!


Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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