How refreshing, a story about a young women coming of age in a small mining town in western Canada, that isn't filled with gratuitous sex, a miner's ton of angst and endless pages of introspection. Instead, Slag, tells a far more honest and touching story as we follow the central character, an 18 year-old Anna Sorenson through the final few months of her graduating year of high school in 1955. I was so glad the writer didn't make the entire story about Anna, but rather introduced a number of people in her life and told their stories, eventually revealing how they all connected and how it helped shape the central character.
Though the story was set in 1955, when the world was, according to popular sentiment, a quieter, less confusing time; the conflicts of the heart are no different than today - first love, parents as imperfect as the children they are trying to raise, the always trying to fit in, racism or any reason to hurt someone else who is different. The problems of the adults in her life are as equally familiar today- empty marriages, fights over money, work issues, alcoholism. And of course the hockey team, as central today in any small Canadian town as it was in the Flin Flon of 1955.
It was an easy read, that focused on the events, their repercussions, the people in her life. There were moments that brought tears to my eyes and others that had the blood rushing to my cheeks in anger. If only more writers understood that there is more drama and impact in the honest exchanges between people, than over-the-top contrived moments, they would probably move more people.
I love it when you have everything come together at the end and all the points that have come before coalesce into a logical resolution. I really liked the choice to have the novel open with a 33 year-old Anna, a successful network executive flying back to the home she grew up in and ends with her flying back after a few days attending to final matters after her mother's death. In between arrival and departure is the story of that 18 year-old girl. Everything in between helps us to understand who Anna is at 33 and what lies ahead for her.
It would be nice to see the story made into a movie, as long as they focus on the characters and the story, and not go "Hollywood".
As a first novel from a writer with a background writing ad copy, radio commercials, lyrics, and whatever paid the bills, this was a promising beginning and makes me wish Ms. Harrison had written others. Looking forward to the next one.