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How to Review: Starting Out and Pro-Tips from Carleigh Baker

Are you looking to get into the review game? Are you a seasoned reviewer and want to hone your skills? Wherever you land on the review spectrum, PRISM has put together five simple starting-out steps to make the task of reviewing a book a little less daunting. Additionally, Carleigh Baker, author of Bad Endings and bad-ass reviewer for The Globe and Mail, shares some insider pro-tips.

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Review of Pilgrimage by Diana Davidson

By Diana Davidson
Brindle and Glass, 2013
Review by Kim McCullough

Pilgrimage, by Edmonton author Diana Davidson begins on New Year’s Eve 1891, and spans a little over a year at the Lac Ste. Anne mission in Northern Alberta. It follows the lives of three women: Makhesîs Cardinal, a young Métis woman raised at Lac Ste. Anne; Moira, an Irish lass transplanted to Alberta; and Georgina Barrett, the wife of James Barrett, the Hudson Bay Company store manager.

Makehsîs is tasked with keeping house for Barrett until his wife arrives at the settlement. The job turns sour, though, when Barrett, displaying a ruthless lack of self-control, takes what he wants, when he wants it. Makhesîs becomes pregnant and must leave his employ to save her reputation.

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Review: “The Best Place on Earth: Stories” by Ayelet Tsabari

best place on earthThe Best Place on Earth by Ayelet Tsabari
HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. (2013)

Review by Melissa Janae

What makes someone part of a place? Must they be born there? Do they have to share the same heritage? Is it a matter of speaking the same language, or passing through the same rituals?

Ayelet Tsabari deftly explores these questions and others in The Best Place on Earth. Set in Israel, Canada, and India, these stories are fraught with conflict. In “Tikkun,” Lior passes by a group of people watching news of a pigua—Hebrew for terror attack—before having coffee with the ex-girlfriend he never truly got over. Teenaged Uri weathers missile attacks in Ramat Gan during Operation Desert Storm in “The Poets in the Kitchen Window.” The poets are Uri and his sister Yasmin, and while he always dazzled his sister during metaphor games at the kitchen table, Uri has “never heard of a Yemeni or Iraqi poet, or any Mizrahi poet for that matter.” During “Invisible,” Rosalynn moves to Israel from the Philippines to find work as a caretaker to the elderly. Rosalynn also finds a home in her new country, even though, as her visa’s expired, she has no legal place there.

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