*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Title: My True and Complete Adventure as a Wannabe Voyageur
Author: Phyllis Rudin
Publisher: NeWest Press
Publication Date: October 15, 2017
Synopsis from Goodreads:
In this coming-of-age story, Benjie Gabai is convinced he’s been the victim of a terrible cosmic hoax. Instead of being born in the 18th century as a French-Canadian voyageur, God has plunked him down in present-day Montreal, into a family that views his fur trade obsession as proof that their Benjie, once so bursting with promise, has well and truly lost it. Benjie serves out his days as caretaker of The Bay’s poky in-store fur trade museum, dusting and polishing the artifacts that fuel his imagination. When he learns his museum is about to be closed down, scattering his precious collection to the four winds, he hatches a plan that risks bringing his voyageur illusions lapping dangerously up against reality.
Calling all Canadian fiction lovers, if you’re looking for a light-hearted and very endearing book full of Canadiana and absurd storylines, then this book will tickle your fancy. It’s such a silly and warm story, you can’t help but love it. Benjie Gabai is a Jewish Canadian living in Montreal who becomes the caretakers of The Bay’s in-store museum where he becomes a self-taught expert on the Canadian fur trade and meets possibly the only other human who shares such an impassioned affinity for all thing voyageur.
Benjie, who has really lost his direction and his passion, is rooted in his new job as the world of Canadian history unfolds before him. The museum becomes his life. It’s absolutely adorable to watch his knowledge blossom and his love of Canadian history grow. He wants nothing more than to share it with others, although he is so often alone in the museum. He unexpectedly meets a friend here who shares his love and helps him take it to the next level. This is not only a story of Canadian history, it is a coming of age tale about family and true friendships. It’s about finding and pursuing happiness and learning to make tough choices when sacrifices need to be made.
My one criticism is that while the main characters are really in depth and tangible characters, Benjie has a few friends with recurring roles throughout the book who are extremely flat. Their names are mentioned a few times and they are regular kayaking partners for him. They truly support him in his pursuit as a modern day voyageur, however they have no personalities and no real contribution to the story beyond their names added in a line or two. It really makes them totally nonessential to the story as a whole, but I think adding more detail to these characters could have really added an additional layer of depth to Benjie and the story as a whole.
Overall however, My True and Complete Adventure as a Wannabe Voyageur, is an entertaining piece of CanLit that I’m happy to share with you. It’s one of those books that I envision being a staple at the family cottage, perfect to pull out on a rainy day.