This moving book captures powerfully the sheer physicality of enormous, yearning grief. Lisa Moore has forged a memorable portrait of a brave, no nonsense individual on her journey to a form of peace after devastating loss. Moore traces in plain-spoken but evocative prose Helen O’Mara’s happy, passionate early life as a wife and mother, to the shattering loss of her beloved husband Cal in the Ocean Ranger disaster, to her struggle to raise her family and keep herself emotionally afloat. Moore engages the reader simultaneously on many levels, from the sensory to the functional aspects of getting on with one’s life to hints of the spiritual. While the focus is on Helen, the subplot involving John, her oldest child and only son, is also absorbing, tracing his development from childhood to adulthood, his career path and his acceptance of unexpected new responsibilities in his life. Throughout, the feisty resilience of the entire cast of February and their ability to even find rueful humour in life’s challenges is both diverting and inspiring.
February by Lisa Moore has been selected as a finalist for Canada Reads 2013. The book will be championed by comedian Trent McClellan, and represents the Atlantic Provinces region in the “turf war” themed competition.
February 14, 2013 – 31 years ago today, the Ocean Ranger sank. How fitting that today, February has been recognized as the book that all Canadians should read. What a fine way to honour the memory of the 84 men who perished in that disaster.