Canadian Content: Kit Pearson

July 14, 2009 § 2 Comments

Anyone who really knows me understands my specific interest in books with young characters, after all, intensity and confusion seem to go with youth. After spotting a copy of When The Lights Go on Again, while digging through my friend’s collection of books the other night, a flicker of memory triggered in my head. Oh yeah, Kit Pearson, the beloved Canadian young-adult writer. I remember my sister, eight years older than I, having a bookshelf with several novels bearing that name. A name like Kit isn’t exactly the common-fare like Jessica or Mary, so that seemed to stick with me, and it kind of always made think of Kit-Kat bars.

When I was old enough, I happened upon a novel in the young-adult section at the local Chapters, by none other than Kit Pearson. It wasn’t one of the books my sister had years earlier; it was a shiny new one called Awake and Dreaming. The title appealed to me. I was about nine, if I recall correctly. In these days, my mom paradoxically, liked buying me books and hated it, because she’d spend the money, happy to see me read and I’d have devoured it by the next day, and to her it seemed a far too short-lived use of the money. Like the others, I devoured this one, except, I actually remember the process. It was not just some one-night stand with a novel, but an engrossing tale of a little girl of nine, living with a careless single mother. The girl longing for a proper family, escapes into a fantasy world of happy novels, and somehow this interweaves with a bit of a ghost story. What I truly enjoy about Pearson’s writing is her ability not to patronize the reader, and that, I would say, is a fault with many writers catering to young readers, and the way that her writing appeals to most people, steadying a balancing act of detail and overview, is admirable. The inner-world of a character is fully fleshed out and their motivations made clear.

Later on, after I finished the book I went through my sister’s old collection of Pearson novels, and I recall being equally drawn in, however, Awake and Dreaming, is the only one that has really stuck with me, in the sense that it sits on my bookshelf next to other all-time favourites. Over the years, I’ve re-read it probably four times, and I’m not normally a repeat reader. After picking it up again last night and finishing it today, I long to read the rest of her books again, but in all likelihood, they’re sitting at the bottom of a box somewhere buried in the basement.

Anyway, to those who are not afraid to stand in the young-adult section at their local bookstore, while not being a youth, Kit Pearson is an excellent choice. I may go try to dig through the boxes for my sister’s old books.

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