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article imageReview: Madeline Sonik's Afflictions & Departures shows chaotic childhood Special

By KJ Mullins     Mar 3, 2012 in Entertainment
Childhood memories come back disjointed, sometimes out of focus with blurry edges but the primary memory front and center. In Afflictions & Departures by Madeline Sonik that quality shines through.
Sonik's collection of experimental essays on her childhood are at times whimsical with the dark edge of a time where family problems were hushed and unspoken.
Afflictions & Departures takes us from Madeline's conception through her teens in a series of essays. There is no set timeline from one chapter to the next, just as memories from one's youthful days tend to be recalled out of order.
Her descriptive words fashion a life that is marred by an alcoholic father, unhappy mother and shades of child abuse that friends suffered. These were not topics that were discussed during the early 1960s to mid-1970s by respectable families. Civil rights and women's equality were coming into place for some but most families lived with Ozzie and Harriet versions of life as the norm.
As she recalls key points from those days Sonik puts a historical timeline of what was going on in world news as she dealt with a smaller frame, her own young eyes.
Afflictions & Departures is one of five Canadian non-fiction books on The Charles Taylor Prize shortlist. The winner will be announced on Monday in Toronto.
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The Charles Taylor Prize is a Canadian literary award, presented by the Charles Taylor Foundation to the best Canadian work of literary non-fiction. It is named for Charles Taylor, a noted Canadian historian and writer. The award has a monetary value of $25,000.
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