*originally published on 05/17/2016
I come across a graphic novel entitled, Roughing it in the Bush, and wondered if it was based on Susanna Moodie‘s novel by the same name. Yes, it is, but the story is also adapted by Carol Shield (who wrote her thesis on RIITB)! And, Margaret Atwood wrote the forward (who also wrote her thesis on RIITB, and wrote a poetry collection on Susanna Moodie)! Sold! I would really like to thank Second Story Press in making sure I was able to read this book. After a few technical issues in downloading the eBook, they generously sent me a finished copy in the mail.
Last Fall I read Charlotte Gray’s biography on Susanna Moodie and Catharine Parr Traill which renewed my interest in the sisters and their writing. (My Review of Sisters in the Wilderness). I have still not read anything by the sisters (but they are definitely on the TBR list) but I have to say I am thinking reading RIITB this summer.
SUSANNA MOODIE: ROUGHING IT IN THE BUSH Written by Carol Shields and Patrick Crowe
Adapted by Willow Dawson Illustrated by Selena Goulding
Forward by Margaret Atwood
April 2016; 152 Pages (Second Story Press)
Genre: historical, biography, graphic novel
(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY and PUBLISHER)
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★
Susanna Moodie was born in England, the youngest daughter of the Strickland family but first to marry. Susanna met and married John Moodie, a retired officer from the Napoleonic War, in 1831 and then emigrated to Canada in 1832. She was excited about her new adventure but soon found that the land agents lied about the conditions and what they would own. As things seem to get worse her depression increases and her writing takes a back seat. Her sister, Catharine who married John’s friend, Thomas Traill also came to Canada but wrote a positive review of Canada in her new book. Susanna angry at this dishonest portrayal decides to write her own book based on her journals.
Like Margaret Atwood said in the forward, having Roughing it in the Bush turned into a graphic novel will spread Moodie’s work to other audiences. This is a great introduction for those who are daunted by Moodie’s book, and also great for younger audiences. It gives the biography of Moodie, how this book came to be and the book itself.
I loved Selena Goulding’s illustrations in this book and will look for more of her works. I liked how Willow Dawson adapted Carol Shields, Patrick Crowe and Susanna Moodie’s words. It is a quick and easy read but you come away with Canadian history and an yen to start “researching” on Wikipedia. As a Canadian woman I am very happy to see a brilliant and courageous woman starring in her own graphic novel. I recommend this book to everyone! (I hope many Canadian schools will have a copy in their library!)