Heidi's Reviews > The Erratics

The Erratics by Vicki Laveau-Harvie
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“I do know this: where there is nothing, there must have been pain. That’s why there is nothing. Be glad if you forget.”


This book was recommended to me by a good friend, who really enjoyed the author’s wry sense of humour in the face of adversity, and said that it made her laugh and cry in equal measure. I held off for a while, because sometimes non-fiction is more hard work than reading a novel, but I am so glad that I finally got to it!

Laveau-Harvie indeed writes with a lot of black, self-deprecating humour and descriptions that brought both her situation as well as the setting to life for me. It’s not a jolly tale, but one fraught with experiences many of us go through in one form or another when our parents age and can no longer look after themselves. However, for Vicky and her sister this premise is not only full of sadness and grief, but also danger. Having escaped a very dysfunctional family situation by moving to the other side of the world, Vicky does not cherish the prospect of having to face her mentally unstable mother after she has broken her hip in a fall. A mother, who has long since disinherited and cut off both her daughters from her life, claiming to others either that she never had any children, or that they are dead. From here follows the account of how Vicky and her sister try to get this tricky situation sorted in order to make sure their parents are safe and taken care of.

I have so many questions after reading this book! Vicky hints at abuse in her childhood, at the hands of a parent who sounds unstable at least, at worst fully psychotic. And a father, who would stand by and do nothing about the situation. But we get only little snapshots of childhood memories, when I found this mystery so intriguing. What made her mother such a monster? Was she always like this? Didn’t anyone notice? How did the girls survive such a perilous childhood? Why did her mother speak several languages fluently and had an enormous amount of money at her disposal? What led to both daughters being shunned be their parents? Set this against the harsh landscape of the Canadian prairie and I want MORE!!!!!

THE ERRATICS certainly is one of the most intriguing memoirs I have read. At only 224 pages I could have easily doubled that and devoured it all. It’s certainly one of the most compelling personal histories I have read, and one that was a pleasure to read, despite the deep unsettling disquiet and questions it left behind.

3.5 stars


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Reading Progress

February 4, 2020 – Started Reading
February 8, 2020 – Finished Reading
February 11, 2020 – Shelved
February 11, 2020 – Shelved as: read-in-2020
February 11, 2020 – Shelved as: fav-non-fiction
February 11, 2020 – Shelved as: slightly-disturbing
February 11, 2020 – Shelved as: want-to-read-more-from-this-author
February 11, 2020 – Shelved as: aussie-author

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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message 1: by JanB (new)

JanB I have the same questions just from reading your review. I hadn't heard of this book but it sounds so interesting. Great review Heidi.


Heidi JanB wrote: "I have the same questions just from reading your review. I hadn't heard of this book but it sounds so interesting. Great review Heidi."
I don't read much non fiction but this one made me feel like picking up more memoirs. It was so well written!


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