When a letter is addressed to anyone who will read it it’s clear that pride is going to glow from the pages.
Barbara Mundy Groves, an upper class American woman fell in love with Labrador, and one day because of it, met her husband Russell Groves. “Dear Everybody” is the biography of Barbara’s life, and the culmination of multiple letters, diaries, and notebooks she had left behind. “Dear Everybody” captures her struggles assimilating to the near opposite culture from the one she was raised in, as well as the small earned joys she gained from her Labradorian life.
Reading this story , especially through Ann Budgell’s pen made me feel Labrador’s chill, as well as refreshed my pride in my Province. It was a new and very pleasant experience, to have someone write about your hometown as though it was the next metropolis. Ann introduces a crystal clear appreciation for historical accuracy, as she writes not only about Barbara, but also about the events surrounding her life. The stock market crash, the depression, as well as the second world war. Ann was even kind enough to include real black and white photos of Barbara, her husband Russell as well as a few of their friends in Labrador.
And as much as I appreciated the story standing on it’s on, it was a secondary thrill to find out that both Barbara and Russell had been interviewed by Them Days (Vol. 17 No. 3 dated April 1992). Throughout the book we hear a lot of what Barbara thinks of her husband, but since Russell didn’t write in a journal his thoughts were kept much more private. He talks about his life, and a bit about his experiences with Barbara. It compliments the book like cookies to tea.
Ann Budgell catches Barbara’s life with not only incredible detail of the historical dates and issues, but more importantly seems to catch her spirit. The way Barbara carried a lipstick with her as she went on the trapper line for the first time. Or the way Barbara described her father. Ann eases you into her book in a way the reader barely realizes it until they’re actually there.
Four and a half Labradorian flags out of 5 🙂
Kerra Quigley from Them Days