It is hard to relate to someone who is so interested in the weather in this day and age. Most people aren’t concerned with reading the weather anymore since we are so protected against it: homes, cars, Thinsulate™, Gortex™, etc. Sure, my Dad carries around his little Home Weather Station at the cottage and lets us know when the temperature changes .2 of a degree but that’s because he’s in serious need of a hobby, not because we actually need to know the ever-changing status of the weather. Beside, doesn’t everyone have ForecastFox on their browser?
Still, as much as we are protected against the weather people still complain about it all the time. Trust me, I live in Calgary and worked in the customer service industry for far too long – the weather is never good enough for anyone here. EVER. FPG though – he loved the weather, all types of weather. Another name for Over Prairie Trails could be All Weather, All the Time.
I went into this book really wanting to like it for many reasons. The first is that it is Book One of the New Canadian Library books I am reading for this blog and I wanted to get off to a good start. The second is that I had heard about FPG being one of the Fathers of Canadian Literature but had never read anything by him. And the book is… okay. I mean, it isn’t bad but it really is dated and FPG’s self assertions really started to grate on my nerves after a while. This guy thinks he knows everything. In the chapter “A Call For Speed” he needs to rush home because his little girl is sick, “I was enough of a doctor to trust my ability to diagnose,” (p. 117) and doesn’t want to leave it to the country practitioner. This sort of pushed me over the edge after endless self-assertions about how he was an expert in the weather, nature, horses (although he almost kills them forcing them out in the snow) and how he calls his younger wife “the young woman” and how much she relies on his wisdom and experience.
After writing that I think I dislike this book even more than I originally thought. I’m sure it had its place in 1922 – something for families to read around the fire perhaps? However, its time has passed and I wouldn’t recommend it unless you really, really like reading about weather.