So far the Canada Also Reads shortlist is proving to be terrific selection of books that didn’t get the fanfare they deserve. Stacey May Fowles’ Fear of Fighting

definitely falls into this category. With beguiling illustrations by Marlena Zuber, it’s a delicious little package (I read a library copy, but this is a book I would like for my shelves).


Marnie, a thirty-ish Torontonian, is devastated after being dumped by her sexy, dishevelled musician boyfriend Ben. She shops at her local over-crowded under-stocked urban grocery, depressed and self-conscious as the checkout girl rings up her one onion, one apple, and a small container of creamer. She returns to her 500-square foot apartment to be greeted by her tailless cat, and smokes the occasional cigarette from the stash under her bed (she’s supposed to have quit). Over the course of a long, lonely winter, she withdraws from the world more and more, taking a telemarketing job from home, doing her shopping online, and spending her free time watching CSI and obsessively checking Ben’s Facebook profile for new female friends. She’s convinced she’s invisible, but someone across the hall thinks otherwise.


I ripped through this book in two sittings, because I really wanted to find out if Marnie would be OK (you’ll have to read it to find out). She’s kind of an everywoman—I think many of us could find a bit of ourselves in this character. I certainly did, remembering my twenties and the many nights eating scrambled eggs for dinner with my two cats, wondering if I would grow old alone.


I’ve decided not to rank the Canada Also Reads books, because there are too many I like, and I’ll agonize over it too much. I’m going to try to read my remaining four before the winner is announced, and I’ll blog about them here. Who else is playing?