I just found out, to my surprise, that the Canada Reads debates are just 10 days away! It is surprisingly difficult to find the dates of the actual debates on the CBC website… In fact I only found reference to the first three, but I hope that there are still five as usual.

ANYWAY, time for me to put my feelings about the 3rd* book, Angie Abdou’s “The Bone Cage” down in writing. I’m going to be blunt here, because I feel rushed with the debates two weeks sooner than I thought they were, and also I have somewhere else to be tonight. This isn’t going to be the cleanest most professional review but it will get the point across.

This is my favourite book of the five contenders.

I suspect this has a lot to do with the fact that, as a former varsity athlete, I definitely connect with what Digger and Sadie are going through. On the outside most athletes seem to be all confidence and bravado, but Abdou really cracks that shell open and shows us what’s really going on. As it says in the book, “Athletes are experts in mind control.” They have to be or they wouldn’t survive. High performance sport is almost entirely won in the mind. I was not an expert at this, so I’m no longer a varsity athlete, but I definitely understand what it’s like to need that skill to advance.

That being said, it isn’t the only reason I liked this book. It is a book about Olympians in training, but it’s a book about Digger and Sadie. They are great characters and I really felt I was reading about them, not just about training for the Olympics. I like Digger. I like Sadie. I like their insecurities. I was with them through their trails. This was a book I really felt a part of.

Also, I enjoyed that this book contained a reference to a real-life event that was featured in a previous Canada Reads selection. Ten points to anybody else who spotted it.**

I’m curious to see if this book garners support from non-athletic types in the same way that I wonder if Carol Shields’ “Unless” will get support from anybody who isn’t a middle aged woman. My bias is clear there, but I think “The Bone Cage” definitely deserves it***. It is my pick to win.

* The other books being The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis, Essex County, by Jeff Lemire, Unless by Carol Shields, and The Birth House by Ami McKay.

** The Frank Slide in chapter 27, from “The Outlander”, Canada Reads 2009.

*** “Unless”, on the other hand, does not. More on that later.

Random FAQ Comments (3)

3 Responses to “Canada Reads 2011 — The Bone Cage”

  1. [...] other books in Canada Reads 2011 are Essex County by Jeff Lemire, The Bone Cage by Angie Abdou, Unless by Carol Shields, and The Birth House by Ami McKay. AKPC_IDS += [...]

  2. Erin Balser says:

    There are only three debates this year, and each will be an hour long. It’s a different format because the debates will be held in front of a studio audience for the first time ever.

    All the attend/watch/listen info can be found here:

    Thanks for reading and reviewing all the books this year! They’ve been a pleasure to read.

    Erin Balser
    Canada Reads

  3. Angie Abdou says:

    Thank you! I almost didn’t read this review when I saw the opening “I’m going to be blunt” – I was worried you hated it and were going to be mean. I’m glad I read on – and very glad you enjoyed The Bone Cage.

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