April 24, 2017

The trials of Susanna Moodie

Susanna Moodie: Roughing It in the Bush
a graphic novel by Carol Shields & Patrick Crowe
illustrated by Selena Goulding

Susanna Moodie’s Roughing it in the Bush; or, Life in Canada  is required reading for students studying Canadian literature. Her book is often disliked due to her snobbery and her almost constant bemoaning of her fate in the backwoods of Canada.

This graphic novel biography of Susanna Moodie does much to dispel the negative image of her in light of the realities that she faced as a wholly unprepared pioneer. She and her husband had no experience in homesteading, farming, or cookery, and depended heavily on others to survive their first years. Seeing her difficulties writ large in Selena Goulding’s emphatic illustrations evoke reader sympathy and understanding, as does the use of Moodie’s actual words.

Some liberties were taken in the telling of her story, as Patrick Crowe explains in his author’s note, yet it helps in clarifying the events that occurred, making it much more palatable for young readers.

One of the best graphic novels I have read. 

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