Robin Killer

Jana Pruden was a newspaper reporter and columnist in Medicine Hat Alberta. When she was in that employment she wrote "Robin Killer" which is a collection of twenty-four articles.

This short book of eighty-four pages is rather unconventional. It doesn't have a Foreward, Introduction or standard formatting that you might expect in a book. Even the cover is non-traditional in that all the quotes seem to be from the author's family members.

The whole time I was reading, my mind seemed to be searching for connection between the stories and even when I had finished the final page I was still searching for the answer. It was difficult to tell which parts of the stories held any truth as some of the details frankly just didn't seem plausible. Just when I would start to accept the tales as designed from by a creative mind for humour's sake, however, I would return to the idea that perhaps something had stemmed from the author's actual life experiences.

Ms. Pruden talks about family members in a somewhat deprecating and sarcastic manner at times and at other times writes in a manner that seems to almost admire the individuals she is describing. The two most interesting chapters in the book are about her Uncle Harv who, as a charming and homeless womanizer, wanders from one relationship to another and the one describing her Ukrainian grandfather who is a hard-working Ukrainian man living the simple life.

I think that the whole book would have made more sense if there had been something at the beginning where Ms. Pruden described her motivation and goals for the work. Even if she had identified a "lesson" learned from each of her described experiences there would likely have been more connection. Putting the stories in order chronologically would perhaps have facilitated flow.

Despite the disjointedness, I have to admit that the four pages entitled "The Magic Hour" in which she provided the character sketch of her grandfather were very touching and well worth the price of the book.

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