Sunday, December 7, 2014

Lisa's Review: Where I Belong

Where I Belong by Alan Doyle

My Rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was looking forward to reading this book so much, I was afraid to start in on it as I knew I wouldn't want it to end. I was so very right about that!

I've been following Alan Doyle and Great Big Sea, since what seems like the beginning of time. I've seen them play countless times (seriously I couldn't even begin to count) - from their early days at the Lower Deck in Halifax all the way through to their 20th anniversary tour this past year. I have to say, after moving to New Hampshire 18 years ago, I've been thrilled with the frequency that they have passed through here.

But I digress...back to the book! I picked up my copy of Where I Belong at an author's reading, Q&A session, and signing in the Boston area. In the book, Alan tells many stories about what it was like to grow up in the small fishing village of Petty Harbour, Newfoundland - from cutting out cod tongues with the b'ys, playing hockey, wondering why there was a Catholic side and Protestant side of the village, to finding a passion for music, and many other things in between.

In addition to the stories, the book is has many pictures, a humorous Glossary of Terms for Mainlanders (you can find "cutting out tongues" and "b'ys" here), and some side stories. One of my favorite side stories is Alan trying to get his mother to explain how to make her amazing homemade bread:

"How do you make a loaf of bread, Mom?"
"Alan, honey, I don't know how to make a loaf of bread. I only knows how to make eight." p. 54

During the Q&A session I attended, a young girl (10-12ish in age) asked Alan something to the effect of whether he had any tips or suggestions on writing. Alan admitted that he isn't a great literary writer, but a storyteller. If he had to think of something that guided him through the writing of this book it was that what he wrote had to sound like how he would talk, it had to sound like him. After he wrote a particular section or chapter, if he went back to read it to himself and it did not sound like something he would say, then he would toss that out. After finishing the book, I would agree that this could not be more true. With every word I read, I could hear Alan's voice speak them in his distinct Newfoundland accent - it was like there was an audio-book version of the book playing in my head.

Well done Alan Doyle from Petty Harbour. I hope that there is another book down the road that tells stories of life on the road with GBS.     

This is my eighth book read for the 8th Annual Canadian Book Challenge.

With Alan at his book signing - a genuinely nice guy.
His mother's advice of "Be good" has definitely followed him. 


  1. I enjoyed this book too :)

    1. Yes, after having read your review a few months back, I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy :)


Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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