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Proof I Was Here

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  50 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Days after she arrives in Barcelona, Niki’s world is turned upside down when her fiancé calls off their engagement. Unwilling to return to Toronto and face a looming assault charge, she turns to life on the streets. Living among pickpockets, squatters and graffiti artists in a city she barely knows, she is challenged to reassess her ideas about family, luck and art. With ...more
Paperback, 243 pages
Published June 25th 2019 by Buckrider Books
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Kristen Merke
Nov 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: on-my-shelf
The great city of Barcelona deserved a better protagonist than the self-centered judgmental girl that it got in this book. Gosh, if I could slap Niki I would. Her inability to recognize her white privilege is outstanding. The entire time she is too proud to deal with her life so she chooses to be homeless and take advantage of others who are starving, homeless and trapped in cycles of violence or shame rather than face her ex.
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved Becky Blake's "Proof I Was Here". In fact, I think it is in my top five for the year and one of my favourites in a long time.

The writing is uniquely precise and succinct and yet expansively evocative. It feels uncluttered and clean while still providing a range of detail that captures tone and intent skillfully. Sprinkled throughout are ‘lists’, for lack of a more fitting word, that describe places and experiences in terms that engage the senses fully. A small example, “…the finer
Aaron Duhwit
Jul 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
i was excited to read this book after reading Becky Blake's two award-winning short pieces.

written as a first-person narrative occurring over a couple of weeks, the engaging and exciting story raises thoughts and themes that i think many who have had the privilege to travel likely experience: the excitement and romanticism of arriving somewhere new and different; the feeling of "discovery"; the self-consciousness and perhaps self-loathing of being a tourist; the attempt to be the distinct and
Miriam Körner
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Proof I Was Here is the perfect title for this fast paced novel in which Nikki - erased from the relationship that brought her to Barcelona and now homeless by choice - drifts through the city's invisible parts: the world of pickpockets, squatters and graffiti artists. In her quest of finding herself, she wonders about the mark she leaves in the world or in other words: the proof that she was here. The way her view of Barcelona changes as she sees it through the eyes of the people who take her ...more
Lisa Pijuan-nomura
Mar 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Becky Blake's first novel does not disappoint. Her main character is such a fascinating woman and I felt as if I was right behind her as she wanders the streets of Barcelona. An excellent book that once i started reading couldn't put down. Makes me want to go and visit Barcelona!
Jonathan Maas
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Literary Fiction that takes a few sharp turns

We've all made mistakes in our life. If you've emerged from your 20s intact, I'm sure you can recall a handful of times that - wow did you make the wrong decision, and wow are you fortunate that you emerged unscathed.

The main character of Proof I Was Here, Niki - makes mistakes that will put yours to shame, and continues to make them.

In short, when she is left high and dry in Barcelona by her fiance, she stays in the city and becomes a pickpocket.

Enid Wray
Dec 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’m torn about this title. On the one hand I really enjoyed reading it - I wanted to keep reading it and hurried to get back to it every time I had to put it down. On the other hand I really disliked the protagonist Niki/Jane - and I get that we don’t have to like everyone we meet in the books we read, just as in life. But it helps…

I thoroughly enjoyed the gritty reality of Barcelona as it is portrayed… and the commentary on the social and political state of affairs that is Spain, and more
Krista Zee
Jul 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have never been to Barcelona, but in a sense I felt that this novel took me there. I was exploring the city along with Niki/Jane throughout the story-line. I could smell the air and imagine the sun on my face. I could feel the energy coming from the city's lively inhabitants that she encounters and befriends. Niki/Jane is relatable character and I wasn't ready to say goodbye to her when the book ended. I wanted to continue following her, just steps behind, to see what she was up to(/against) ...more
John Perrone
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
I must of missed the purpose of this novel, or I did not get it. Woman from Canada,Toronto, goes to Barcelona where her boyfriend calls off the wedding. She stays in Spain but decides to live on the street. She commits crime. Wait, it is OK to destroy the vacations of others who are victims! Did not get it. So your life was turned up side down by your fiance so you and your friends destroy innocent vacationers fun! How is that justified? Not a good story. Later. Keep Reading.
Melissa Williams
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Becky Blake takes the reader on an unexplored, eye-opening and elemental adventure through the heart and soul of Barcelona’s multi-dimensional landscape. She teaches us that life has a strange power to jolt complacency, unearth havoc and yet provide the means to better understand ourselves and others. A beautiful story of Niki, flawed and familiar, and the many compelling characters she shares her journey with.
Lisa Nikolits
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I immediately gravitated towards this book because of the title! Then, admittedly, it had all my favourite elements; Barcelona, young thieves, hustlers, buskers and graffiti artists. Broken hearts, complicated friendships, freeganism (fascinating idea), and dysfunctional familial relationships. This book was my perfect kind of escape read. Nikki aka Jane, kleptomaniac when stressed kept me following her adventures, holding my breath and wishing her all the best.
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book. Visceral and vulnerable. I felt like I was following, running along with Nikki and sharing her adventures and yet hiding in the shadows rooting for her. I hope this book gets made into a movie. It would be a wonderful thriller and a tale of lost love and survival. Bravo Becky Blake!
Stephanie Daniels
Jan 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
I was hooked by the end of the first page and could not put it down.
Darla Tenold
Aug 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
A page turner, I thoroughly enjoyed Niki’s desperate adventurous journey through the world of Barcelona pick pockets, squatters and graffiti artists.
Susan Walker
Oct 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting read about belonging. Author takes the reader to the city of Barcelona.
Yvonne Stoikos
Sep 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Loved this book! was a fun read good charachters but the ending I was hoping for more drama . Toronto girl goes to Spain with fiance he dumps her. She cant go back home she has charges. Roams around with homeless people. Graffiti artists protesters. BF leaves I did not like that part. Has to get to apt.for I.D. was hoping she ran into ex fiance and there was an ending there. Also she never opened the letter from her mom ?
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BECKY BLAKE is a Canadian author who currently lives in Toronto. She has also lived in Barcelona, where she was inspired to write her debut novel Proof I Was Here. Becky is a two-time winner of the CBC Literary Prize (for non-fiction in 2017 and short fiction in 2013). She is currently working on a second novel and a memoir-in-essays.