Groundwood Books
House Of Anansi Press

March 2013

$9.95 US

282p pb

ISBN: 978-1554980963

fp September 2011

I'll Be Watching

Pamela Porter

from Groundwood Books...

In a small prairie town like Argue, Saskatchewan, everyone knows everybody else's business. Everyone knows that the Loney family has been barely hanging on -- the father, George, reduced to drink and despair since the loss of his farm and the death of his wife, Margaret. That the four Loney children do not get along with George's second wife, the pious, bitter Effie. Then George dies in a drunken stupor -- locked out, it seems, by Effie to freeze to death on his own doorstep. Effie takes off with a traveling Bible salesman, and it looks as though the children are done for. Who's to save them when everyone is coping with their own problems -- the lingering depression, the loss of the town's young men to the Second World War?

Yet somehow the children find a way, under the watchful eye of their ghostly parents and through the small kindnesses of a few neighbors, but mostly by dint of their own determination and ingenuity. Fourteen-year-old Nora quits school and becomes a housemaid in the home of the Presbyterian minister, who is not what he seems; sixteen-year-old Ran enlists and becomes a navigator with a bomber flight crew over Europe; twelve-year-old Jim cuts Christmas trees and learns to hunt rabbits. Meanwhile little Addie, mute since the death of his mother, finally finds his voice.

This is an extremely powerful novel about children at risk because of adult hypocrisy, indifference, self-interest and outright immorality, all cloaked in a self-righteous exterior. In the end they redeem their own lives by drawing good people to them and by rising to the occasion themselves. And when they at last are able to leave Argue, they do so together, as a family looking ahead to a future of promise and hope.

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