7 Reasons Why YOU Should Read Wayne Johnston’s The Son of a Certain Woman

The Son of a Certain WomanI write book reviews all the time with the hopes that you will share in my enthusiasm and “said book” will hopefully be your next read. Nine times out of ten, I’ll share why you should pick up the book at the end of my review. So when I started to write a review of Wayne Johnston’s The Son of a Certain Woman, I got a little stumped because all I wanted to do was share reasons with you about why you need to read this book. Then I thought why don’t I switch up my normal routine and just list the reasons why this book needs to be on the top of your to be read pile. So that’s what Im going to do and hopefully when you’re convinced (and I’m sure you will be) you’ll come back to this post and tell me how much you loved the book.

1. It’s was on the Giller Prize Longlist

Okay, this is an obvious one, but I thought I’d start with it because being nominated for the Giller Prize is no small feat! The Son of a Certain Woman joined the ranks of twelve other authors and their books selected by a jury that consists of Margaret Atwood, Esi Edugyan and Jonathan Lethem. With such statue choosing from a long list of books, I could end this list right here… but I won’t.

2. 5/5 Ratings = Win/Win

When I finished reading this book, I literally couldn’t wait to find my fellow Wayne Johnston pals and discuss. That’s why I was thrilled to see that BookRiot contributor Brenna had devoured the advanced reading copy she received. As you can see from her GoodReads review, she felt the exact same way I did. “Portnoy’s Complaint meets Newfoundland Gothic. Weird and wacky and wonderful. The most un-Wayne-Johnston-y and yet totally Wayne Johnston novel in his oeuvre. Read it when it drops in September.”

3. An Opening Sentence that Makes you Stick Around for More!

I love a good opening sentence and Wayne Johnston delivers! The Son of a Certain Woman opens with “Most of the people who knew my mother either slept with her or wished they had, including me and my Aunt Medina…”

4. You’ll gasp. You’ll Laugh. You’ll feel uncomfortable. 

To help solidify my third point, I’m sharing the book trailer for this book because it gives you some insight about what kind of book you’ll be cracking open.

That’s right friends, Percy Joyce is in love with his Mother and as you can imagine, it lead to some very uncomfortable but hilarious scenes.

5. Reviews Galore

To help prove my point, you’ll be hard pressed to find a newspaper that hasn’t given the book a rave review! The Globe and Mail calls it “expertly discomfiting” and the Toronto Star nails it on the head by saying, “Wayne Johnston’s genius for extravagant storytelling soars to new heights in The Son of a Certain Woman.

Here are some additional articles:
Ottawa Citizen
Winnipeg Free Press

6. The Last Scene of the Book

I shared that the opening sentence is a reason you should read this book, but the same holds true for the last couple of pages of The Son of a Certain Woman. Honestly, I’ve never closed a book and looked around my home and said out loud “What? Really?” until now. Seriously, this ending will NOT disappoint!

7. Percy Joyce

Percy Joyce is a character that you fall in love with instantly. There’s something about his innocence that makes you want to tell him that it’s all going to be okay. *Think Owen Meany if you will* Not since reading the beloved John Irving story have I liked a character as much as I enjoyed this young boy. The things he imaginesthe lies he weaves, the incest devotion to his own Mother. You’ll want more as you’re reading and you’ll be sad to say goodbye when it’s over.

So there you have it friends, the 7 Reasons why you should read Wayne Johnston’s newest book. If you need any further convincing (and I don’t think you will), you’re welcome to write me on Twitter or comment below!


6 thoughts on “7 Reasons Why YOU Should Read Wayne Johnston’s The Son of a Certain Woman

  1. Enid says:

    I absolutely loved, loved, loved this book. There were so many layers– it is outrageous and completely brave, for I see that the subject matter has obscured the embrace of this book by several reviewers. Yes, it could have been very disturbing, and is likely too disturbing for some– not least because of the Oedipal theme, but because the protagonist does not feel guilty over it. However, it is offset by the fact that one can easily get past that if you truly love good writing. Johnston made me fall in love with Percy; there is such poignancy and heartbreak, as well as pitch-perfect wit, quirky Newfoundland characters, all enmeshed within the era of persecution, religious oppression, and discrimination in small-town 60s St. John’s. I grew up not in this part of Canada, but in this era, and Johnstone nails it. As well, two things that were so completely satisfying: a total grabber of an opening sentence, and a supremely fulfilling ending. I did not want this book to end!

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