Saturday, 28 December 2019

Bad Ideas

Finished December 9
Bad Ideas by Missy Marston

This novel is in the 1970s in Preston Mills, a small factory town in eastern Ontario. Trudy is a young woman who grew up in the town she lives in. She works in the local factory and lives with her mother Claire and her four-year-old niece Mercy. Claire had fallen in love with Darren, a young man working on the St. Lawrence Seaway project nearby, and both Trudy and her sister Tammy were children of that relationship. But soon after Tammy was born, he was gone, back to his life and wife elsewhere. Claire never had another relationship, sure that someday Darren would return to her. Tammy, like her mother got pregnant as a teenager, and soon after Mercy was a toddler, she left for a different life somewhere else. So Claire and Trudy raised Mercy, and loved her. But it left Trudy with a certainty that men couldn't be trusted, one she held true to until one day a very different young man entered town.
Jules Tremblay, an aspiring daredevil, plans to build a ramp and fly over the Seaway in his car. We see his story as he looks for promotional sponsors, funding, and waits for the ramp to be built. Trudy finds herself fascinated by him, drawn to him despite her reservations.
Meanwhile Tammy is drawn back to the idea of life with her young child. In a new relationship, she finds herself thinking about returning to Mercy, and making a new beginning.
As we hear from the different characters: Trudy, Claire, Darren, Jules, Tammy, and Mercy, through the first half of the book, we see what drives them, what goes on inside their heads. In the second half of the book the organization is by theme and we again see from multiple points of view, but here more closely aligned with each other, sometimes of the same events. This section is split into So Long at the Fair, The Circus, and The Stunt.
I loved the characters here, from Trudy with her determination and hope for a better life, to Claire's unending belief in Darren, to Mercy's pragmatism, and Jules' dreams of fame.
The plot unfolded beautifully too, and seeing the story from different viewpoints really brought it together. A great read.

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