10 March 2010

Songcatcher by Aline Perret-Vallée
Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing
Review by Sharon Adam
$16.95 ISBN 978-894431-32-3

Songcatcher falls in a new genre that combines autobiography with poetry and essay. It is the story of an ordinary woman who enjoys her life and shares with her audience the blessings gathered over eight decades. A Saskatchewan girl, Aline tells us her story in a very entertaining and enjoyable format.

She begins with her mother’s family and the story of how they ended up in Duck Lake, where Aline’s mother meets her future husband and they begin their own family. The author shares the respect and joy her home-life provided in times that were hard on the prairies. We glimpse the farm life of a young girl and her brothers and sisters. Aline shares stories and poems of her school years and of leaving home in 1949 to become a nun at the Novitiate in St. Hyacinth, Quebec. She then begins a teaching career that sees her move to various locales, including Prince Albert, Spiritwood, The Pas, Laurier, Debden and Swift Current, ending in Wadena.

We learn of a love story that begins in Prince Albert and eventually ends happily with Aline leaving her vocation as a nun to become the wife of Orian Vallée. Aline’s writing is full of her appreciation of life and recounts all the things that enrich her memories. She tells us of her discovery of Toastmasters and how that organization helped her build confidence and make friends.

Visits to her ancestral homeland of France bring new family members into the story, and travels to Quebec and California add even more family branches to her tree. Now a widow, she lives in Saskatoon where she enjoys her family and friends. Songcatcher is an enjoyable read for anyone interested in our past—and the lives of the real people who lived it.


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