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Sandy Day is the author of Fred's Funeral and Poems from the Chatterbox. She graduated from Glendon College, York University, with a degree in English Literature sometime in the last century. Sandy spends her summers in Jackson’s Point, Ontario on the shore of Lake Simcoe. She winters nearby in Sutton by the Black River. Sandy is a trained facilitator for the Toronto Writers Collective’s creative writing workshops. She is a developmental editor and book coach.
on March 23, 2018 :
Fred's Funeral is a charming novella exploring mental health and its treatments through the life of a Canadian WWI veteran, Fred Sadler. Sandy Day used the real-life letters of her relative as the inspiration for this fictional account so I felt a strong sense of authenticity throughout the story. We first meet Fred's spirit inexplicably still hanging around at his funeral although he has already caught a glimpse of an afterlife to which he is keen to go. His wishes ignored through most of his life, this seems little changed in death except now he can at least show us, the readers, what he believes to be the truth of his life while his sister-in-law, Viola, recounts alternate versions to the gathered family members.
I think Fred was probably suffering from PTSD, shellshock as it was back in the 1910s and 1920s, and the condition remained untreated during his life because it wasn't understood. His bursts of antisocial behaviour couldn't be accommodated within his family so Fred finds himself in and out of an insane asylum for decades, a shameful half-secret. We see how attitudes change over the decades and with different generations. I appreciated Day's allowing Fred to tell his story in all its uncertainty and confusion. This man doesn't understand himself any more than his family does and I found his predicament very poignant. This is a lovely, thoughtful story.
(reviewed 28 days after purchase)