CanLit Challenge Book #34: Life in the Clearings Versus the Bush by Susanna Moodie
Filed under: CanLit Challenge,Infinite TBR — Ibis at 10:08 pm on Saturday, September 12, 2009

Book 34, Life in the Clearings Versus the Bush (1853) – Susanna Moodie
From the back cover:
“In Life in the Clearings versus the Bush (1853), the sequel to Roughing It in the Bush (1852), Susanna Moodie turns from examination of pioneer life in the bush to a portrayal of the relatively sophisticated society springing up in the clearings along Lake Ontario. During a trip from Belleville to Niagara Falls, Moodie acts as a meticulous observer of the social customs and practices of the times.

Invaluable as social history and as a candid self-portrait of a remarkable woman, Life in the Clearings versus the Bush chronicles, with wit and wisdom, Canadian society in the mid-nineteenth century.”

Other useful links:
the Wikipedia entry for Susanna Moodie

My thoughts:
First off, I have to say that I didn’t enjoy this book as much as Roughing It in the Bush. She spent far less time observing people, places, and customs and a lot more time talking about (the Christian) God. When she did describe life in Canada it was interesting as usual and some parts were fascinating (her observations of the “Lunatic Asylum” for example). There are a couple of essays that were interesting too, especially looking back on things from a century and a half later, like the one about wearing mourning. I don’t know if she would be happy or horrified to see how far those customs have been abandoned. I was particularly intrigued by the story of Grace Marks because I know that Margaret Atwood based her book Alias Grace upon this account. I have yet to read Margaret Atwood’s book, but I will do so soon while the memories are still fresh.

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