Book Reviews by J. Patrick Boyer

A Life Consumed

Lilly Samson’s Dispatches from the TB Front

by Diane Sims

Your Scrivener Press (2008) ISBN: 978-1-896350-30-1
207 pages, paperback

People arriving for “the Muskoka Cure” usually look for a pleasing period of R&R in a rugged yet refined setting.

But for more than half a century, the cure was something much more specific for those afflicted by tuberculosis.

Doctors in the late 1800s recommended rest, adequate nutrition, and fresh clean air, which is exactly what others had been coming to Muskoka to get since the 1860s. So it seemed the district was naturally primed to become a refuge for those seeking respite and cure from the ravages of tuberculosis.

A Life in the Bush

Lessons from My Father

Roy MacGregor

When Dunc MacGregor died and was buried in Huntsville in 1995, his entire wardrobe on five hangers and his meager life savings in a single bank account, it was the end of the line for a man who lived as close to nature as any contemporary Canadian could.

Alligators of the North

The Story of the West & Peachy Steam Warping Tugs

Harry B. Barrett and Clarence F. Coons

Muskoka's economy and culture were forged in logging. But just as across other Canadian tracts yielding up logs for lumber and paper-making, getting felled trees to mills was the hardest and most hazardous part.

An octagonal home in Bracebridge became an Ontario historic site

Woodchester Villa, Bracebridge, Muskoka

A Pictorial History

Robert J. Boyer

Ontario's best enduring and accessible example of the revolutionary eight-sided buildings that were in vogue more than a century ago crowns a high hill in the centre of Bracebridge. An Ontario Government official historic site marker, near the front door, signals the attraction's importance as part of our country's heritage.

Canoeing and Hiking Wild Muskoka

An Eco-Adventure Guide

Hap Wilson

This is "eco-tourism" at its best. Beyond the arc of Muskoka's well-known summer retreats and busy major lakes, the district still possesses a natural, rugged wildness.

Coming of Age in Muskoka includes First Nations Tales

The Roads to Go Home Lake –Christina Kilbourne
Where Lives Take Root –Christina Kilbourne

Rites of passage from youth to adulthood, a universal theme in literature, feature in many "coming of age" books set in Muskoka.

For Muskokans who grew into adulthood here, the most compelling of works in this genre are those informed by the local point of view. There is the reassurance of self-recognition in John Ibbitson's The Landing, drawn with poignancy from his youth in Gravenhurst, or Jim Bartleman's fictional memoir Raisin Wine, chronicling his rites of passage as a Port Carling youngster, or even Gregor Robinson's novel Providence Island set in the Milford Bay area whose protagonist Ray Carrier is a hybrid of outsider and local.

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