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Where I Belong

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  1,593 ratings  ·  311 reviews
From the lead singer of the band Great Big Sea comes a lyrical and captivating musical memoir about growing up in the tiny fishing village of Petty Harbour, Newfoundland, and then taking to the world stage.
     Singer-songwriter and front man of the great Canadian band Great Big Sea, Alan Doyle is also a lyrical storyteller and a creative force. In Where I Belong, Alan pa
Hardcover, 315 pages
Published October 14th 2014 by Doubleday Canada
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Average rating 4.28  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,593 ratings  ·  311 reviews

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Nov 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
This is one of the best books I read so far written by a Newfoundlander. The stories are interesting. Funny and witty. Alan shows that he indeed can write a good story.

Things I like about the book

1. There is map of Petty Harbour and a glossary of terms for the mainlanders.

2. The chapters are funny. Usually relate to one idea.

3. The inserts about Great Big Sea.

Things I didn't like much:

1. There was a lot of not in chronological order. The last few chapters should have been in the beginning,
Aug 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
Where I Belong
5 Stars - A wonderful tale of growing up, learning to 'be good' and question the world around you. Showing how much money in your pockets does not shape a man, but how the people and places around him do. About a boy with a lot of questions and a good heart, going from a small town and exploring the world around him.

I received this book in the mail from Random House Canada on Friday September 12th, I was really excited as this was my first book to review that has yet to be publicly
Jul 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I had the pleasure of getting to sit down with Alan, his editor and a sales rep from Random House to hear a bit about the process of putting this book together. As a fan of Doyle's band (Great Big Sea), I was, at first, a bit nervous to meet him. But his down to earth manner and friendly disposition put me immediately at ease.

And that's when the fun started. Part of the pleasure of reading this book was that I could hear Doyle's voice in my head as I encountered such interesting and memorable ch
Samantha Trillium ☂

I have a habit of taking the book I am currently reading where ever I go; you just never know when you're going to need it. Sure enough, waiting for a friend to show up for a coffee date, I get a text saying they're going to be half an hour late. So I decide to pull out Doyle's memoir to kill the time.

Big Mistake.

This book had me SNORTING it was so freaking funny in parts. I got the weird lo
Carla Johnson-Hicks
I enjoyed learning about Alan Doyle's early life. I was hoping to read more about the band, "The Great Big Sea" as I love their music, but perhaps that will be in the next book. I had no idea what growing up in a small town in Newfoundland was like. The Doyle family had a reputation of being great musicians, so it is no surprise that Alan became a wonderful one. His early life had me laughing and cringing in equal measure. His story was told in a humorous way, but I am sure there were times in h ...more
Debra Komar
Nov 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book is the perfect antidote to the whole Jian Ghomeshi nonsense. Not all Canadian celebrities are dicks. It is impossible not to love Alan Doyle - God knows I do - and this book shows him to be as humble, lovely and kind as he seems to be. It captures that "Newfie" voice perfectly and features the same laidback east-coast story telling tradition that Newfoundland is so well known for. Those looking for music gossip or even much on Great Big Sea may be disappointed - the stories all revolve ...more
Jan 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I don't often give 5 star reviews, but I would give this a 10 if I could. It's one of those books you just want to keep reading, soak in every word as quickly as possible, but at the same time, you don't want it to end. I laughed out loud, sometimes until I had tears in my eyes. The book will strike a cord with anyone who grew up in Newfoundland, I caught glimpses of my own childhood through Alan's tales as a young lad in Petty Harbour. This book brought a comfort I can't quite describe, reading ...more
Harold Walters
Aug 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads

A GoodReads Giveaway

Mostly this autobiography is Alan Doyle’s account of his boyhood in Petty Harbour, Newfoundland. His childhood was not unlike that of many other bay-boys, except that he was part of a musical family — the Doyles from Petty Harbour. Not all bay-boys were.

This scribbler’s bay-boy childhood wasn’t particularly musical unless listening to the radio counts.

Although of a slightly later generation than mine, Alan Doyle’s “rearin’ up” in many respects resembled that of countless ge
Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods༺
I loved this book…for so many reasons. For one, Alan Doyle, whom I’ve seen perform many times, but never met, seems to be such a great person. His childhood in the seventies in rural Newfoundland is not so different from mine in the eighties (although there were thankfully no cod tongues present in my youth). His success and experience give him a unique and entertaining perspective that I thoroughly enjoyed. Also, this book is just plain funny, and it’s funny because it’s true. Not just true as ...more
Feb 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book was so well written and was so fun to read. Alan captures the uniqueness of Petty Harbour and the people that I felt I knew everyone. This book was like sitting down next to Alan and hear him spin tales of his formative years. I love Great Big Sea and was hoping to read about them getting together and their music, but I can see that it may be another book. I've always been a fan, and I'm an even bigger one now. What an enjoyable read!
Shirley Schwartz
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-5-star-reads
I loved this book! We are planning a trip to Newfoundland this summer and we are actually staying in Petty Harbour, so it was great reading a book written by one of my favourite performers who was born and raised there. Alan Doyle is a member of the band Great Big Sea, but he's still Alan Doyle from Petty Harbour. He grew up on Skinner's Hill, which is one of the highest hills in this little community, and he and his family (mother, father, brother and sister, and the old family dog called Pal), ...more
Alan Doyle grew up to become lead singer of Great Big Sea. He grew up in a small town, just outside St. John’s, Newfoundland with 3 siblings and a very musical family; in fact, they were known as “The Doyles from Petty Harbour” and everyone knew they were musical. The book is told as a series of stories, and include stories of his family and friends, music, religion (Catholic vs. Protestant), fishing, and more.

I listened to the audio, read by Alan himself. I loved it! The accent and the phrases
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Another great memoir from Great Big Sea frontman Alan Doyle. This one focuses on growing in small town Newfoundland. I liked this almost as much as his second memoir, about the early days of GBS. My only complaint was that I found the organization of the book a big jarring at times with jumping back and forth in time. Doyle is a gifted story teller and listening to this as an audiobook in his Newfoundland accent made it even better.
Melanie Ting
Jan 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bio
I must confess, I am not a fan of Great Big Sea. I could not hum one of their songs—even under torture. However, I do enjoy great settings. When I read a humourous excerpt on Alan Doyle’s autobiography featuring his mother’s bread recipe, I decided to give the book a try.

This book is completely charming and hilarious. The setting in a tiny village in Newfoundland is seems to be from a very innocent time, when kids wandered freely and did dangerous things, all the while recognizing the authority
Elisabeth Manley
Nov 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Whether you know who Alan Doyle is or not, this book is a hilarious string of stories about growing up in a fishing town in Newfoundland. I was trying to pick a "best part" but there are too many: that it was written in his newfie accent so I could imagine exactly how he told each story, his comments under each picture poking fun at his geeky young self, the glossary of newfie terms at the end of the book, and the list goes on. Loved it from start to finish and wish I could sit in a bar with thi ...more
Jan 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful, funny, affectionate look at a time and place like no other. A celebration of music, hard work, family, Newfoundland, and how the simple lessons learned in childhood shape your life. Easy to read, very funny at times, and thought-provoking and introspective at others. I loved this book and didn't want it to end. I hope he is even now hard at work on a follow up.
Sep 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is quite possibly my favourite book I have read so far this year. I was delightfully astonished my how much I loved reading this auto-biography. I think a large part of that is due to Alan's writing style. His lyrical background shines in this book. This is like one long epic song to his hometown and the people and stories that surrounded him as he grew up.
Noelle Walsh
Aug 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful book about growing up in Newfoundland. Funny, easy to read, and thought provoking, this memoir brings us the years just before Great Big Sea and Alan Doyle became such a massive success. I really enjoyed reading this book and had difficulty putting it down. A must read!
Aug 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Honest, genuine sharing from one of my very favorite musicians. Thank you, Alan, and congratulations on yet another masterfully told tale!
Dec 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian, memoir, 2017
This was a fast, fun read. Alan Doyle, from the band Great Big Sea, tells his story of growing up in Petty Harbour, Newfoundland. He really paints a picture of that world - you can hear the Newfoundland accent speaking from the page, you can see the twinkle in his eye. Definitely worth a read.

Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am kicking myself for not getting the audio version of this book - although I mostly heard it in Alan's voice while reading it anyway. Petty Harbour sounds like a made up place and I'm grateful Alan wrote this book so we could all know such a place exists with all its many characters. Alan's positive view on life is inspiring and entertaining. A funny and heartwarming read.
Apr 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
A light and very entertaining read of this Great Big Sea frontman’s years growing up in the Newfoundland town of Petty Harbour and his journey to be part of one of Canada’s most beloved bands. Allan Doyle tells his story with humor and humility.
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Awesome fun read. Alan weaves a wonderful story, can't wait to read his next book.
Oct 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful, well written book. A must read for anyone wanting to know more about life in Newfoundlands outport villiages and the joy people can take from very little.
A good read. Loved it on audio book.
Neil Mudde
Jan 18, 2015 rated it really liked it

As an avid viewer of the TV show, "Republic of Doyle" for which Alan Doyle wrote the theme song, plus he actually appears in some of the segments. I was not aware of his background, and his connection to the Alan Hawco who is the star of the show and producer and other Hawco family members.
I have a good friend who was born in Petty Harbour Newfoundland in fact I spent some time there with him and his family. I do not want to go into my impressions of this wonderful unique town,although let me te
Apr 21, 2015 rated it liked it
“You must be shaggin' all the girls in Petty Harbour, are ye?”

“No, b'y,” I said. “All the Petty Harbour girls my age are my first cousins.”

“Jesus, that never stopped anyone in Petty Harbour. The closer the kin the better the skin.”

I decided to fight fire with fire. “I heard there's a Townie or two going around with an extra toe or finger,” I said.

He sniggered. “I'm just effing with you, b'y,” he said, impressed that I'd had the gall to rib him back.

Petty Harbour is twenty kilometers outside
Penny McGill
Nov 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian
I really wanted to read this book. It had gotten a bit out of hand. I couldn't stop thinking about how much fun the book would be to read and then I'd hear little interviews with Alan Doyle and it would seem almost like he/the book was taunting me. Finally it arrived here on my desk and it was a very busy workday and a very busy evening of sports practices and games for this family and I wondered if I would ever get to actually read the book! When night came I was so happy to have the book all t ...more
Teena in Toronto
Jun 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian
I've been a fan of Great Big Sea over the years and have seen them many times in concerts.

Alan Doyle was one of the members in Great Big Sea. He seems like a nice guy and I was interested in reading his story. I figured it would be a good one and it was.

Doyle tells of growing up in a small fishing village just outside of St. John's, NF. His family (dad, mom and four kids) didn't have much but they didn't realize that because they had what everyone else had (or didn't have what others didn't hav
Jun 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
First, I must say I won a chance to get the uncorrected proof of this book. I could not be more thrilled to win a book from one of my favorite singers. I have never won anything from Goodreads before, and this was the best thing to win in my mind.

I started reading this book as soon as I got it and I knew the time would go by fast. I sat down to read and suddenly an hour and a half had gone by and I was half way thru the book. Reading this book is like sitting with Alan over a pint in his family'
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ALAN DOYLE is a Canadian musician and actor, best known as a lead singer in the Canadian folk-rock band Great Big Sea. In 2012, Doyle released his first solo album, Boy on Bridge, which made the top twenty on the Canadian Albums chart. Alan lives in St. John's, Newfoundland.

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