Every year CBC selects 5 books that Canada should be reading, this year they let the Canadian public choose the books that we all thought should be in the running. One of the books in the top 5 for the 2011 Canada Reads title is Angie Abdou’s, “The Bone Cage”. This book will be defended by Georges Laraque who is a retired hockey player and knows all about the roles and duties of being in a sport. “The Bone Cage” is a book about athletes and the trials and tribulations they face on a daily basis.
It’s a dual narrative story, taking us into the life of Digger and Sadie, who are both training for the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Digger is a 30 year old man who eats, breathes and sleeps wrestling. He is a very determined young man that spends hours in the gym training and shaping his body to be physically able to dominate anyone that gets into the ring with him. The same regimen applies to fellow athlete Sadie, who is training in swimming and spends most of her days underwater. Both athletes attend the University of Calgary and are only aware of one another because they know the other is training for the Olympics.
Separate narratives doesn’t take away from the fact that both athletes are experiencing the same constant pressure from their coach’s day in and day out. Sadie is even left in the dark about her Grandmother’s health so that she can finish out her practice for the day. Both Digger and Sadie are expected to give their best no matter what may be happening in their personal lives. Their stories eventually do combine when the two talk in the gym and start seeing one another. What happens to them both after meeting one another shapes the novel and makes both Sadie and Digger think about their priorities long term.
Angie Abdou’s story draws you into a world of strict routine, constant pressure and physical stamina. It opens your eyes to look beyond the podium where a winner is announced and understand the sacrifices and time that athletes invest in their training. It wasn’t a story that I necessarily could relate to, but it did open my eyes to see what kind of lifestyle a training athlete endures each day. I’m very interested to hear how Georges Laraque defends this title, being that he was an athlete and understands the dedication that is needed when participating in a sport.
The CBC Canada Reads competition will be taking place on February 7, 8 and 9th.