Author: Norma Hawkins
Publication Year: 1996
Source: CBC podcast Between the Covers
Chokecherry is a short Canadian novel distributed by a small publisher, so it’s not very likely that I would have come across it if it hadn’t been featured on Between the Covers. It’s told from the perspective of a fictional Anglican pastor’s wife, telling about their lives in the small parish of Chokecherry in the Canadian prairies. It’s basically a series of anecdotes about their struggles with the community and the wife’s struggles with the expectations that the parish has placed on her.
I didn’t really like this book, to be honest. It may be a very accurate representation of what small towns were like in the middle of the century in the prairies, but I largely found the characters and situations frustrating, irritating, and often unrealistic. There were often conflicts where the pastor’s wife was completely frustrated by the unjust actions and opinions of others, but would just let them walk all over her without defending herself, which made it very hard for me to connect with her. It also didn’t really seem like the story was going anywhere – it was disjointed and things didn’t link together very well.
I might recommend Chokecherry for someone who is specifically interested in the time period or area of Canada, but would pass on it otherwise. Definitely not something I would spend time on again.