Fishtailing. Wendy Philips.

Philips, Wendy. Fishtailing. Coteau, Regina F (poetry); 1/11.

I swore out loud when I opened this, having bought it thinking it was a novel, and discovering it to be a narrative poem with big print and a lot of blank pages. It took me less than an hour to read. The plot (about right for a short story) involves four teenagers in school and a couple of their teachers. True to the hideously tiring zeitgeist of everyone having been traumatized, the “normal” ones are drawn into all the awful consequences of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, (PLOT ALERT) with one of the trauma victims committing suicide in the end as a result of the psychopathic sexual greed of the other one (END PLOT ALERT). I think the poetry is fair, and  I did want to know what happens in the narrative.

I’m angry at being deked into buying the book not realizing what it was (take a look inside the cover, John) and boy am I fed up with trauma all the time. It’s almost as bad as cancer and death. We’re so honest and real. Anyway, for the fairly good writing and not-bad plot, 7.4.

About John Sloan

John Sloan is a senior academic physician in the Department of Family Practice at the University of British Columbia, and has spent most of his 40 years' practice caring for the frail elderly in Vancouver. He is the author of "A Bitter Pill: How the Medical System is Failing the Elderly", published in 2009 by Greystone Books. His innovative primary care practice for the frail elderly has been adopted by Vancouver Coastal Health and is expanding. Dr. Sloan lectures throughout North America on care of the elderly.
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