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The Torontonians

3.53  ·  Rating Details ·  57 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
The arrival, one sunny morning, of pale green wall-to-wall carpeting for the living room is the crowning jewel in Karen Whitney's long-anticipated transformation of her house into a beautiful home, renovated to the exacting standards of her own impeccable taste. The banal finality of this event triggers an introspective voyage through the events of her life and how she ...more
Paperback, 358 pages
Published September 20th 2007 by McGill-Queen's University Press
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Aug 17, 2008 Lesliemae rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: torontonian women
Recommended to Lesliemae by: Andrew Lesk
I was dreading reading this book thinking that it would be the tired old story of a disgruntled housewife angsting about a slow awakening about her life lacking meaning, and moving firmly towards a dissatisfying feminism. I used to think that my ex-mother-in-law had the worst of two worlds. In her late fifties she was an embittered, angry and loud woman who still made baked goods and preserves just like back on the farm. She held two conflicting mentalities within her at all times. She would ...more
Connie Crosby
May 30, 2012 Connie Crosby rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bookclub, 2012
As a former student of Canadian literature, I was surprised I had not previously heard of Phyllis Brett Young. I found her story-telling and writing superb. It gave me a clear picture of suburban life in Toronto in the late 1950s, highlighting a lot of what I have disliked about suburbia in more recent years. The anecdotes in this novel are highly amusing, but she also managed to maintain an intelligent, edgy tone throughout. Favourably comparable to the better-known Revolutionary Road. I would ...more
May 24, 2016 Vicky rated it it was amazing
Shelves: canadian-authors
With the exception of a few minor location details and this book could have been written today. It's fascinating to see how little has changed in terms of Toronto, the "suburban dream" and what makes individuals feel valued.
Jan 08, 2015 Peter rated it did not like it
Phyllis Young's novel attempts to demonstrate the path to one's self-discovery and it does capture the time period of its setting with accuracy. Anyone who lived in Toronto will find this book a good portal to flashback to the times when Toronto was taking tiny steps towards becoming what is termed "a world class city." Sadly, the book's topography and major themes do not rescue it from being a rather dated and stilted novel.

Topography is a tricky issue in writing a novel. Faulkner demonstrated
Mar 25, 2015 Grace rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: second wave liberal feminists, canadian literature fans
Recommended to Grace by: read for class
I gave this one star because it's Goodreads's only "did not like" option. It's not horrendous but....

This has often been compared to The Feminine Mystique and I think that comparison is pretty good. However, The Feminine Mystique has rightly been really criticized for focusing only on upper class, suburban, white, heterosexual women's problems and holding that up as The Woman's Condition and honestly I think this book suffers from that too. Interesing bit of canadian history I guess given that i
May 14, 2016 Gina rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian
This seems to be something of a forgotten gem, a book that was valued and something of a best seller when first published, yet dropped off the radar. This is a shame as it is beautifully written, a very enlightening rendition of time and place (mainly suburban Toronto in the 1950s) as well of the constraints of the life of an upper middle-class woman. As a Canadian incomer, it gave me real insights into where the Toronto I know and love has come from and of the nuances of its social structure.
May 25, 2015 Christine rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned-ebook
I loved this book. Through her writing, Young explains everything that you never knew you never knew about Toronto, all wrapped up in a touching story of a woman who lives and grows in the city.
Joanna rated it it was amazing
Dec 29, 2011
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