An English-speaking teen girl comes of age in Quebec during its push for independence; all the while her own family becomes unraveled.
The political undertones reflect the political climate that was metaphorically dividing Quebec not only from Canada but from within, driving away English Canadians from their homes that they’ve lived in for
Vive La Quebec in the 1980’s
Quebec is jubilant and the rest of Canada is incredulous. The Parti Québécois, led by charismatic Quebec sovereignty advocate René Lévesque, crushes Robert Bourassa's Liberals in a landmark provincial election. Lévesque campaigns on a platform of social democracy and "good government." His desire for a separate Quebec is far from forgotten: "I hope that, in consultation with our fellow citizens of Canada, we can arrive at a country."
This is the story of a young girl’s trials and tribulations throughout the eighties in the province of Quebec ...
An adult Darianna Taylor reminisces on her teenage years growing up during the 80's in Quebec. This period dramedy takes place during the explorative and turbulent times of the 1980’s and focuses on Darianna, a young teenager who just moved to a quiet, middle-class, French populated suburb with her family.
In January 1980, Darianna (a native of Quebec) moves back from the states with her mother, father, grandmother, and younger sister, Julie. The two sisters find themselves thrust in a foreign world where politics, language, and winter are an obstacle and struggle to fit in.
Darianna, longs for California, where she lived for a brief time before moving to Colorado, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, feels she was purposely misinformed as to where they were moving to. Duped into believing the South Shore would be filled with sprawling beaches and palm trees, she is rudely jolted to reality when they arrive in Quebec in the middle of a harsh snow storm.
Darianna’s Catholic, French speaking grandmother lives with her family. Her grandmother on her father’s side, who she is less familiar with but will soon get to know, is Protestant and English speaking, as are all of her aunts, uncles and cousins. There is a rivalry between Darianna’s grandmother’s, as well as deep rooted resentment and prejudice stemming back from when Darianna’s parents were her age, playing together in the Laurentians during summer vacation. Her father’s mother never accepted that her son married a French Catholic girl.
Darianna and her sister spend a memorable summer up north in the Laurentians with their cousins at their grandparents - in the very same chalet her parents met twenty-five years ago. Peggy, Heather (who is called ‘Peanut’ because she’s so tiny), Ellen, Bonnie-Anne, Kelly and Candace are their cousins... Kevin is the only boy cousin, and he gets picked on a lot. Darianna and Julie are introduced to tadpoles, frog hunting (but they always let the frogs go), fishing, bonfires with roasted wieners and marshmallows, and buttered peanut butter sandwiches eaten down by the lake with wagon wheel cookies. It was a nostalgic time for them. Granny would use the moose horn to call them up from the lake when it was time to eat. All the cousins got along... not all the time. Sometimes the group of cousins would round up and wander off to smoke down by the stream, under the wooden bridge and take walks to the corner store for goodies. It was truly a fun time for Darianna and Julie until they return to the city for school.
With wistful musings from Adult Darianna told with voiceover over flashbacks. Darianna just wants to be a regular kid, and tries to succeed even with obstacles; unhappy parents, a younger sister that is annoying, language issues and so wants to attract the romantic attention of a cute French-Canadian neighbour boy who doesn’t notice her. Young teenage Darianna is preoccupied with boys, cigarettes, competing with her younger sister, Julie, and dealing with her parents’ fighting and eventual separation. Meanwhile, she makes friends with the Francophone neighbourhood kids, going from speaking French to English and back. She lives simultaneously in two worlds, while most teens have a hard time growing up in just one.
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