And a little longer in Canada

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What happens when a single parent from London heads for Canada to care for an elderly lady in case it’s fun?

Armed with a small child, several degrees in Psychology and twenty years as a paramedic, the author decides she has what it takes to take a job caring for a Canadian senior with Alzheimer’s Disease.

This book details more than one journey. The trip across Canada is the easy one, the trip into 24/7 exhaustion and back to the Nazi occupation of Holland in someone else’s mind is more challenging.

Described by readers as a cross between Bridget Jones and Bill Bryson, A Year On Planet Alzheimer is almost the story of an adventure. It isn’t quite a travelogue, despite being largely about places. It would be dereliction of duty to omit to pass comment on the remarkable ceiling at Vancouver Bus Station for example or the remarkable discovery that they don’t turn Niagara Falls off at night.

WhereIt is almost the story of a child…what happens when you tell a nine-year-old that travel broadens the mind? What does travel do to a nine-year-old mind?  Not to mention living with someone who gets away with being naughty when you can’t.

Mainly there is life and the sheer unexpectedness of the way other people live it. Not just the snow dump but the incredulity generated by wanting to see it.

It could be the story of an adventure with a few more shimmering sunsets dancing over majestic waves. There are some majestic waves, naturally, but this tale is more obsessed with meatballs. It is therefore the story of an escapade.

Amazon reviews:

This delightful travelogue/memoir of a single mother’s plunge into the unknown completely charmed me thanks to Carolyn Steele’s wit and resourceful spirit. It was quite fun to be along for the ride with her and her son as they left their homeland of Britain for Canada, negotiating the culture clashes, bureaucracy, odd food, and quirky denizens. As an American, I enjoyed learning how much we have in common with Canadians (we are often so quick to point out differences), and I might not have seen that in the same light if not for a newcomer’s viewpoint. I’d recommend this book to anyone who wants to do a bit of armchair traveling and slip someone else’s life over his or her shoulders. I’m looking forward to reading the next two books of her adventures.

As a Canadian who has experienced living in England (and an avid Anglophile), I jumped at the chance to read an account of a Brit’s experience of living in my own culture. I was in for a treat…
Not only is Carolyn Steele’s story about her experience moving from England to Canada (with kid in tow), it is largely set in the city I live in. Seeing my community through a visitor’s eyes made for a fascinating read full of hilarity. And I mean that. Steele’s writing is hysterically funny – I found myself laughing out loud on many occasions. But the book is more than that: it is an endearing story of a single mother and her child trying to find their place in the world and the challenges they face in the process, the characters they meet, and their adventures around each corner. Seeing Canada from the perspective of an “outsider” was refreshing and helped me to gain a “re-appreciation” of the great country I live in and that Steele now calls home. An added glossary of terms at the back of the book is helpful to translate Steele’s “Brit-speak” into Canadian English.
Overall, this is an excellent book that I would recommend to anyone, especially those who are looking to explore a new genre of literature. I am really looking forward to the second installment!

Professional reviews:

A delightful glimpse into our daily lives as Canadians… The writing is snappy, the observations hilarious…we thoroughly enjoyed Carolyn’s reading and are certainly looking forward to the next book! ~ Cathy Matyas: Chief Librarian, Waterloo Public Library

A story of compassion and humour shared in such a way that you can’t help but want to keep reading until the end… ~ Jami Soweby: Education Coordinator, Alzheimer Society of Elgin-St Thomas