I just finished Sandra Birdsell’s newest book, “Waiting for Joe” and it’s a 288 Canadian book about Joe Beaudry and his wife Laurie. Both originally are from Winnipeg but the story begins in a Wal-Mart parking lot while the two are waking up (and freezing) in a stolen motor home.
Joe use to own a motor home business, but after using every resource he has, he and his wife have to resort to selling all their possessions in a yard sale hoping to earn some cash so they can flee their home and run away. They end up in Regina, leaving behind bills, creditors and most importantly, Joe’s father Alfred who is now living in a nursing home with beginning stages of dementia.
The story is told in three voices, Joe’s, Laurie’s and Alfred’s. Each character explains the story of how things got so bad and why Joe is acting the way he is after all these years. One morning, while waking up in the Wal-Mart parking lot, Laurie wakes up to discover that Joe is no longer by her side. It doesn’t take her long to realize that Joe has left her to find his own way, leaving her to find her own way while waiting for him to come back to her.
While on their own, the story really starts to develop and the trials and tribulations that they meet along the way create a memorable and enjoyable story. There were aspects I really liked about this novel, the Canadian references to Canadian Tire, Smitty’s, etc… but other aspects that left me with some unanswered questions. When that happens, I always wonder if I missed something along the way or misinterpreted something incorrectly. The ending wasn’t 100% satisfying for me, but the writing and the character development more than made up for my feelings about the ending.
This book is a finalist for the 2010 Governor General’s Literary Award