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Kit's Law

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  2,688 ratings  ·  167 reviews
Kit's Law is the passionate, well-told story of three feisty female characters struggling against imposed order and male tradition in a harsh Newfoundland outport. Lizzy is the steadfast grandmother; crazy, red-haired Josie, the mother; and Kit, the 14-year-old daughter who tells their story. Like a maritime cutter, the narrative sails along smoothly, and much of the ...more
383 pages
Published April 1st 2003 by Penguin (first published 1999)
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Average rating 3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,688 ratings  ·  167 reviews

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Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017, can-lit
Donna Morrissey's first novel is just breathtaking. The writing is so good, the storyline is mesmerizing and the action rarely lets go. Morrissey has a talent for developing fully rounded characters and her descriptions bring the small Newfoundland coastal town to life.
I was a bit nervous about reading this one as the blurbs on the cover made it sound so grim and disturbing, but I found that although Kit lives a tough life, and things rarely work out for her, she does have allies and people who
Mary Anne
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: country-read
A wonderful first novel that gives us the savour of small town life with the generosity, hypocrisy, callous gossip, and cohesion that such a small town provides. There are funny, happy, sad, and horrible moments in the novel, but overarching it all is the incredible kindness that can be found in a small town.
Sep 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Well, it is as I said, this book was one giant soap opera.

Cast of Characters
Kit: A young teenager living in the 50's with her Grandmother (Lizzy) and mentally disabled mother (Josie). Isolated from the rest of the village due to her mother and under constant fear that she will be taken away from her family and placed in an orphanage, Kit maintains a quiet mouse-like persona. Taking whatever people throw at her in silence. She goes through life essentially as a ghost.

Lizzy: An old lady with
Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods༺
A well-written story of courage and redemption in the face of cruel fate. Kit comes into her own throughout the novel and overcomes overwhelming odds.
Kit’s Law by Donna Morrissey is a very moving novel. It is both heart wrenching and gut wrenching. And be forewarned that while there are light moments and joy throughout, the plot includes a lot of sadness and describes a great deal of pain and suffering caused by the selfish and uncaring acts of a few.

Morrissey shows us the good and bad in small seaport communities - the shunning and ostracizing, the bullying and making fun of - actions seen by children in all communities, big or small. In
Jul 16, 2017 rated it liked it
A real page-turner, this is a coming-of-age story about a teenage girl living in a small Newfoundland outport community in the 1950s with her indomitable grandmother and her developmentally delayed mother. When her grandmother dies, Kit is determined to continue to live alone with her mother, who is looked down on by many community members as the town tramp. The major plot twist wasn't a big surprise, and the characters are very broadly drawn, but it was a very engaging read that conveyed a ...more
Rebecca McNutt
Mar 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Kit's Law timeless themes and Newfoundland setting make it a very interesting read, and although sometimes I found the characters annoying, it was still a book I really enjoyed reading.
Feb 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
I so enjoyed the book that I was rather sad when it ended. I love stories that take me to another time and place where I get a glimpse of lives so different from my own. That being said, I had pretty well figured out the plot early so the big reveal was no surprise. What I did like was how the situation was eventually resolved. I loved the lyrical language and the descriptions of Newfoundland.
Jul 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
I know the ending had to be that way, but I was secretly hoping it would be different. Overall a great read.
Carolyn Gerk
Nov 07, 2009 rated it it was ok
I started off enjoying this book a lot. It was a breeze to get through, though I felt like 1950's Newfoundland sounded a little bit like Little House on the Prairie, so maybe the newfies are a bit behind on the times. I would like to have heard more about Josie's story, as it was her struggle that interested me more than Kit's did.
The characters are simple and a little bit cliche, but it felt like a getaway story depsite the bleak outcomes of mcuh of it.
This was the first two thirds of the
Trix Van E
Aug 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
While it's been some time since I read this book and I have forgotten many plot details, the novel has stayed with me. The characters were very strong, the story inexorably draws toward a kind of doom and the overall tragedy of the story haunts me still.

If you expect lightness and joy, this isn't for you but if you can get dirty with some raw emotions, then perhaps you'll enjoy it too. I certainly did.
Brandon Cormier
May 07, 2019 rated it liked it
I was given this book to read for a novel study for high school upgrading at first I was abit off to read it but once I did I was surprised that it was a pretty decent story about a young girl in a Newfoundland community who’s life is anything but normal and the dark secrets of the community and struggles this girl Kit goes through!! It’s def worth a read if you have the spare time!!
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Extraordinary book--the plot's twists and turns, the sentences, Newfie vernacular, character development, and piercings of the heart. It was all there for me. I'm in awe of such talented writing.
Laurie • The Baking Bookworm
My Review: The fact that this book is set in a remote Newfoundland village in the 1950's caught my attention since I'm always on the lookout for new (or at least 'new to me') Canadian authors. I found Morrissey's writing to be very engaging and lyrical as she vividly describes Newfoundland and its culture, unique dialect and small coastal town feel.

But it was an interesting premise regarding Kit's living situation and that kept me reading. Kit, Josie and Grandma Lizzie's characters were well
❀ Susan G
Jul 08, 2017 rated it really liked it

Desolate, devastating and resilient are words that describe both the struggling characters and the rough terrain of Newfoundland of Kit’s Law. This strong writing remains with the reader long after the book is closed with a reader puzzling how other members of the small town could treat a family so poorly. I have to admit that the first couple of chapters were a bit slow but once I got into the story, it was hard to put the book down!

The novel is the story
Janet Berkman
Mar 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: canadian
What a lovely piece of writing. This novel grabs you and doesn't let you go. Set in a Newfoundland outport in the '50s, it's the story of Kit, a young teenager at the beginning of the story. She lives with her grandmother and mother, who is mentally disabled. Kit doesn't know who her father is.

The novel is full of interesting characters, some who support Kit and many who hate her. Like every small town, some have more knowledge about Kit's situation than others, and many bully her and her
Nathan Burgoine
Mar 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I've read by a contemporary Canadian Author, I put up a review of this book on, and got an e-mail from her!

When she visited Ottawa to do a book reading, she stopped by the store I worked for at the time and signed my copy and personalized it, so this one is only available for loaning to locals who will send it back thereafter.

This is a great story set in East-Coast Canada, and has one young girl struggling to survive against some nasty family secrets, taking care
Aug 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Not surprising that Morrissey won the award for best first novel. Although somewhat slow opening, about a quarter of the way in, it picks up, as Morrissey introduces the characters, their flaws and strengths, and the crux of the book, Kit's relationships with Sid and her mother. Especially beautiful are the scenes evoked against the unique, isolated, rugged, always beautiful, sometimes terrifying Newfoundland outpost where Kit resides. The story and Kit will remain with you long after you close ...more
Sep 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Bit of a slow start, not sure if me or the book. Great character development. As an ex-Maritimer, had always enjoyed "Newfie" wit and personality. This took me back in time. Addressed many of the social issues associated w/early Newfoundland, as well as developing a great plot. Human spirit can triumph. Enjoyed thoroughly. A memorable book for me.
Jan 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I really love the way that Donna writes just like the characters speak. You can hear the Maritime accents as you read the rich, expressive dialogue. This is definately a Canadian Classic, and I could see High School English classes studying it. It would be one of those books you are forced to read, but fall in love with. I am looking forward to reading more by this author.
Oct 29, 2007 rated it really liked it
The words poetic justice would describe this twists and turns in this book rather well. I won't give away the plot, but suffice it to say, those who point the finger often find three fingers back at them. I only wish real life would turn out this way more often.
Jun 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
Disturbing. Interesting look at a claustrophobic community, with well thought-out characters. Her imagery is spectacular, but if you don't like realistic descriptions of vomit (who doesn't, really) you should skip the flu scenes...
Feb 10, 2008 rated it did not like it
hated it! Threw it across the room when I finished it!
Sep 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
excellent, humorous and touching book. absorbing story, left me thinking about the curves life throws. like a boomerang--do they come back to haunt you, or can you move beyond?
May 19, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
(view spoiler) ...more
May 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a great book! This is only my second book by this author, having read Downhill Chance a couple of weeks ago. This was the author's first novel. It rang with authenticity and her use of words to paint beautiful pictures of Newfoundland's wilderness was simply amazing. I loved the characters in this book, and my heart broke for Kit so many times, I just wanted to hug her. It was an easier read than Downhill Chance; I'm thinking the author's voice has become more sophisticated with time and I ...more
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: newfoundland
Kit is a girl growing up in outport Newfoundland living with her grandmother (Nan) and her mother (Josie). Josie is mentally handicapped, with the mental age of a four-year old but physically a strong and healthy adult. No one knows who Kit's father is, but nearly every man in the village is a candidate. Kit and Josie are scorned by many - the teacher, the storekeeper, Kit's classmates, and especially the wickedly hypocritical reverend and his wife, who constantly seek opportunities to force ...more
Cathie M
Feb 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Enjoyable story about a girl who is born out of wedlock from a mentally handicapped mother. Her grandmother dies and a kind doctor stands up to the town to keep them from being sent away. He and most of the town decide to help out by delivering food and chopping firewood for them. Kit falls in love with the reverend’s son. The reverend and his wife hate Kit. An alchoholic man keeps coming around after sexually abusing her sister and attacks Kit. The reverends son attacks him, and the the older ...more
Oct 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Donna Morrissey is one of my MOST favourite writers!! As well as a wonderful person. She came to the YT and went to the local libraries reading and visiting..lots of fun.
I listened to Kit's Law on CBC a few years ago and that took me to the books. Most I have read..and am on a roll to read them all in order of 'year written'.
Thankx Donna Morrissey.

One of the many great quotes from Kit's Law...
"You'll be next, young martle, if you goes puttin' on airs around here......She might be a
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Donna Morrissey has written six nationally bestselling novels. She has received awards in Canada, the U.S., and England. Her novel Sylvanus Now was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, and she was nominated for a Gemini for best writing for the film Clothesline Patch. Her fiction has been translated into several different languages. Born and raised in Newfoundland, she now lives in
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