…..after reading it again for a second time
(I discovered that the library in the village has free WiFi, so I decided to post the two stories that I’ve written since coming to the cottage and not wait until I get home.)
Earlier in the year my book club had discussed the book February by Lisa Moore. It was one of the books that I didn’t finish before our discussion. I had read about half of it and I was having a hard time finishing it. Most of the members of the group really liked the book and I was somewhat lukewarm about it.
I decided to continue reading it to see what I was missing. The funny thing is that I did read some more of it after the meeting but I knew that I hadn’t read all of it. When I brought it up to the cottage to continue where I had left off, I couldn’t remember how far into the story I had read. I went about half way back into the book and started at a random page. It didn’t look familiar but as I continued to read I started to recognize passages that I had definitely covered.
Instead of skipping the following pages and trying to find where I had left off I continued to read, even though I had read these very pages before. I rarely reread a book once I’m done with it but I found that I gained a new appreciation for the story reading it a second time. In the end I discovered that there were less than 20 pages that I hadn’t read.
February is the fictional account of an actual tragedy that occurred in 1982 when the oil rig, The Ocean Ranger, sank off the coast of Newfoundland. All 84 men aboard died. The story is about Helen O’Mara who became widowed when her husband Cal drowns during the storm on that fateful Valentine’s evening.
The story goes back and forth between that tragic night and the present. Helen tries to imagine where her husband was and what he was doing before the rig overturned and she is haunted by images of what could have been. We also learn of the difficulties Helen experiences raising her four children on her own and her struggle to end her loneliness.
I think the first time I read the book I was frustrated by Helen’s on going obsession with wanting to know exactly how her husband died. After reading it a second time I began to appreciate the writing itself. The Winnipeg Free Press described Lisa Moore’s writing as follows: “Moore’s writing resembles poetry…She expertly captures her characters’ physical surroundings in sharp-edge fragments of colour and sensation.”
February is a study of grief and how one woman’s life is profoundly changed by one tragic event. I’m glad I reread the book. I wouldn’t recommend it if you need to read something light and funny but if you are in the mood for an intense and dramatic story, based on an actual event, pick up a copy of February. By the way it was also the winner of the 2013 Canada Reads competition.