CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian's Reviews > The Western Alienation Merit Badge

The Western Alienation Merit Badge by Nancy Jo Cullen
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Such an incredible book! A family saga, snapshot of growing up in Calgary in the 70s, coming back home in the 80s & then in the 2010s, and a queer coming of age story. The characters--two sisters Bernadette and Frances, their dad (who lost two wives 😥), and Frankie's childhood friend--are achingly real, flawed, and sympathetic even when you'd least expect. At once so specific to time and place, yet with such broadly recognizable complicated emotions and family dynamics. So Canadiana, so working class, so prairies. And the novel's chapters are loosely structured around Girl Guide badges, so clever with with cute illustrations like on the pitch perfect cover.

I loved Cullen's short story collection, Canary, a few years ago and this novel is just as great. I love her writing. Her characters feel so uncanny to me, so very familiar, but those familiar folks seen with such a sharp, empathetic eye.

Full review on my blog to come!
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Reading Progress

April 5, 2019 – Shelved
April 5, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
April 5, 2019 – Shelved as: canadian
April 5, 2019 – Shelved as: fiction
April 5, 2019 – Shelved as: queer
April 5, 2019 – Shelved as: historical
August 2, 2020 – Shelved as: own
August 2, 2020 – Shelved as: prairies
September 16, 2020 – Started Reading
September 16, 2020 –
page 37
15.95% "Aaaah Nancy Jo Cullen is such a talented writer! She is just nailing the voices of these characters."
September 17, 2020 –
page 41
17.67% ""A lie told for the greater good was pretty much the same thing as telling the truth." Haha keep telling yourself that."
September 18, 2020 –
page 205
88.36% "Nancy Jo Cullen has such a great way with description: "Her stomach felt like it was full of wasps.""
September 18, 2020 – Shelved as: lesbian
September 18, 2020 – Shelved as: 5-stars
September 18, 2020 – Shelved as: read-need-to-review
September 18, 2020 – Shelved as: class
September 18, 2020 – Shelved as: coming-of-age
September 18, 2020 – Finished Reading

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