Liz's Reviews > The Whistling Season

The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig
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really liked it

I’m always a little sad to turn the final page of a truly enchanting book such as The Whistling Season. Ivan Doig’s charming brand of storytelling is welcoming and unhurried, perfectly timed to capture moments of poignancy and hilarity. Any author that can make me laugh out loud while I’m reading scores pretty darn high on my scale!

This story chronicles a period in our narrator’s life, super-smart twelve year old Paul Milliron, during which he’s forced to grow up a little faster than he would have liked. The story of Paul, his father, brothers, Rose, and Morrie will be with me for a while. Doig has a wonderful talent for revealing the human compassion inside each of his characters. It’s particularly evident in the way they come through for and look after one another, no questions asked. Without a doubt, the Milliron family bond is the heart and soul of this book.

One constant in Paul and his brothers’ lives is the one room schoolhouse where they are educated and in which a large portion of the story takes place. I’ve never given much thought to what it would be like to go to a school like that but this book really planted me there, with grades one through eight being taught in one room by one teacher.

“Forever and a day could go by, and that feeling will never leave me. Of knowing, in that instant, the central power of that country school in all our lives.”

Paul’s experiences in the schoolhouse will indeed color his entire life and in later years he'll be in a position to fight to maintain that way of life in the rural parts of the state. It’s the kind of job for an intelligent man with a good heart. That, as you will see if you read this book, is Paul to a tee.

If you enjoy reading stories about genuinely good people and solid relationships, I strongly encourage you to try Ivan Doig. Besides this book, I also recommend Last Bus to Wisdom which, in hindsight, is really a five star book instead of the four I gave it at the time (review here).
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Reading Progress

May 12, 2016 – Shelved
May 12, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
August 6, 2016 – Started Reading
August 21, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-18 of 18 (18 new)

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message 1: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Masterson Terrific review, Liz! :)


message 2: by Carol (new) - added it

Carol You've totally guilte--I mean sold me on reading an Ivan Doig novel sooner rather than later. I admit to avoiding books set in the western US. this review has pushed me over the edge, though, in a good way.


message 3: by Liz (new) - rated it 4 stars

Liz Jennifer wrote: "Terrific review, Liz! :)"

Thank you, Jennifer!


message 4: by Liz (new) - rated it 4 stars

Liz Carol wrote: "You've totally guilte--I mean sold me on reading an Ivan Doig novel sooner rather than later. I admit to avoiding books set in the western US. this review has pushed me over the edge, though, in a ..."

LOL, Carol! Well I'll do it any way I can - by enticing or by guilting! What I think about Doig's writing... it's so much more than the setting. He just really creates a powerful picture of life and relationships... sentimental at times but without being the least bit cheesy (cuz man do I hate cheesiness). Not fast moving but very endearing.


message 5: by Perry (new)

Perry Liz, your reviews have such a faithfulness to truth and goodness in human nature. I've added this to my Wanted list.


message 6: by Ron (new)

Ron Laughing out loud deserves credit for big-time bonus points, although it may cause a few stares in public situations. And at times I've wondered about the one-room schoolhouses, and life on the plains, so different from most experience now. Guess that's one thing that makes books like this special. Enjoyed your excellent review Liz!


message 7: by Liz (last edited Aug 21, 2016 11:36AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Liz Perry wrote: "Liz, your reviews have such a faithfulness to truth and goodness in human nature. I've added this to my Wanted list."

Thanks for that, Perry! I think those must be the things common to the books that really speak to me. I hope you enjoy this book if you read it!


message 8: by Liz (last edited Aug 21, 2016 11:56AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Liz Ron wrote: "Laughing out loud deserves credit for big-time bonus points, although it may cause a few stares in public situations. And at times I've wondered about the one-room schoolhouses, and life on the pla..."

Thank you, Ron! Interestingly, my dad grew up in the country and went to a one-room school for his elementary years, the teacher was his aunt. He has talked about it but I never gave it much thought until now. I'll have to ask him more about his experiences. :-)


message 9: by Jen (new)

Jen Nice review, Liz.


message 10: by Liz (new) - rated it 4 stars

Liz Jen wrote: "Nice review, Liz."

Thanks, Jen!


message 11: by Karen (new)

Karen Love your review! I need a laugh out loud book for a change.. adding!


message 12: by Dana (new)

Dana Awesome review, Liz! I'm adding this!


message 13: by Liz (new) - rated it 4 stars

Liz Karen wrote: "Love your review! I need a laugh out loud book for a change.. adding!"

Thanks, Karen -- so glad you're adding this! Another reviewer described Doig's writing as "droll" and that's pretty accurate. :-)


message 14: by Liz (new) - rated it 4 stars

Liz Dana wrote: "Awesome review, Liz! I'm adding this!"

Thank you so much Dana! Hope you like it as much as I did!


message 15: by MomToKippy (new) - added it

MomToKippy Wonderful review. I have been meaning to read this author for some time.


message 16: by Andy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Andy Weston Great review Liz. I enjoyed it also.


message 17: by Liz (new) - rated it 4 stars

Liz Andy wrote: "Great review Liz. I enjoyed it also."

Thanks, Andy! Doig was such a wonderful storyteller. I am savoring his list slowly since there won't be anymore...


message 18: by Andy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Andy Weston The same. I have English Creek on my tbr list for this summer


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