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BookReview: A Complicated Kindness

A Complicated Kindness

Book by Miriam Toews

Wonderful book about a young girl growing up in a Mennonite town in Manitoba. Who knew Menonnite teens smoked pot and had sex and were so funny? Sad, hilarious, excellent.

Finely-wrought study of how social constraints can slowly tear people apart.

Good to see more CanLit shaking the old shackles. Along with Heather O’Neill, Toews has renewed my hopes for Canadian writing.

My rating: 4 stars


  1. Shawna Nelles Shawna Nelles 2007-04-08

    I spent some years (blocked from memory) growing up as one of those Mennonite teens in a small town in Manitoba.. (of course I am still a virgin and what is “pot”?)

    Someone went to the effort of getting me a signed copy last year and I’ve heard many times I should read it. (Probably why I hesitate.) Thanks for the reminder.. I should be brave and humorous and get to it!

    Coincidentally, my birth name is also Toews, (pronounced “Taves” not “Toes”) and since we’re Mennonite, I think that means we’re closely related. ;)

  2. I found out yesterday when I was doing shots with a Mennonite (who told me about the whole migration from Europe, etc.). It was awesome!

  3. Hugh Hugh 2007-04-08

    shawna: i was skeptical for some reason, but it wasn’t long before i was sold.

    edward: yeah, there are some jokes in there about hutterites i didn’t quite understand.

  4. matt matt 2007-04-11

    i am current working on a memoir about my teen years as a mennonite addicted to heroin, women, and bar-brawls. the working title is _a million little mennonites_. no response from publishers as yet.

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