All Things Considered
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In All Things Considered, we observe Margaret Lovell at crucial stages in her life, beginning at 10 when she imagines that Marilyn Monroe is her real mother. We observe her as a teen when she develops a rebellious, risk-taking nature and we follow her university and drug-use years and, in retirement years, her eventual reconciliation with her life experience. More
In the opening chapter, a ten-year old girl, Margaret Lovell, is waiting in a hospital bed to have an appendectomy. For some time, Margaret has been fantasizing that Marilyn Monroe is her true mother.
The second chapter,“Girl Guides”, is set in the mid-60s when ideas about non-conformity and rebellion began to spread. Margaret feels hostility towards a domineering neighbour who is the leader of the Girl Guides, and she arranges to have a confrontation with the woman. Margaret’s rebellion has led her to choose an unsavory boyfriend who she finally breaks up with.
“The Beating Heart” is about Margaret’s first love. It is the late 60s, a time when sexual mores were changing rapidly and the birth control pill was available to girls.
“The Riding Instructor” is set during the summer between Margaret's last year of high school and the September when she will leave for university. She is taking riding lessons with an unbalanced riding instructor.
“Sanctuary” is set during the early 70s when Margaret is attending university. She has become engaged, reluctantly, to a 3rd year student, whose proposal took her by surprise. She is a troubled person at this stage of her life, and has begun to experiment with a variety of drugs. In this story, she is having a bad acid trip. She remains unaware that a serial killer is stalking her--until one of the other students living in her house is murdered.
In “Putting In Time”, 26 yr. old Margaret is staying in a bed-and-breakfast in Brighton and feeling lonely and a little frightened. She recalls how much easier and freer she had felt visiting England with her grandparents when she was 17. She sets out to try to meet some people.
In “The Thin Edge,” Margaret discovers she is pregnant, and she decides to have an abortion.
In “Waiting for Jamieson,” Margaret’s boyfriend has arranged to fly from Vancouver to France and meet her in Nice, but he fails to show up. Out of desperation, she calls a younger woman she has met on the train and is invited to spend a week with the woman’s family in a small French village.
In the next chapter, “The Feral Woman,” Margaret, is now nearing 40 and teaching English at a community college. She finds herself obsessed with one of her international students, a 25-yr. old Arab Moslem from Egypt. She studies all things Arabian and daydreams incessantly.
The novel/collection’s central themes are interwoven in the final piece “Construction Sites”: Margaret, now in her late 50s, recalls her girlhood love of horses by taking horseback riding lessons again; her grandmother Eunice dies; and Margaret attempts to resolve a lifelong apprehension of her mother. In the final scene, she becomes virtually trapped in the middle of an enormous forest, having taken her car what initially looked like a dirt road but which turns out to be a steep, deeply rutted, narrow snowmobile path. When Margaret manages to rescue herself from this predicament, she discovers renewed faith in herself.
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