Saturday, September 12, 2015

“The Donkey Puncher’s Daughter” by Kim Allen

Our Cole’s bookstore is very supportive of local authors. Wayne's had all of his Coastal BC Stories books on their shelves since the first in 2005. Lately, there are more books by local authors available than ever before. That’s due to a combination of supportive booksellers, and the ability of little known authors to self-publish their own works.

On a recent trip into Cole’s I found The Donkey Puncher’s Daughter: Folk Tales of a West Coast Childhood (Works Publishing, 2014) by Kim Allen. What caught my eye even more than the title was the image of two young children in a black and white photo standing on a rocky shore. The girl looked a bit like me at that age, with a bobbed haircut and a big smile. I would have loved growing up here in Coastal BC, but it was not to be. But at least I can read about what it was like.

Steam donkey on Museum Main, Powell Lake BC.
Kim Allen grew up in Powell River. She wanted to capture and share what life was like when her mother grew up in logging camps to the north around Desolation Sound. The book was a way to record her family's history through the tales her mother told over the years. I can relate to that.

I remember when Dad put me to bed I would always say, “Tell me a story.” My mom was a good storyteller based on books she read to the kids in school, but it was my dad that had the best stories. His were about camping, hiking, fishing, and growing up in Compton, California, (where we still lived) before it was swallowed up to become a Los Angeles suburb. My favourite story for some reason was when Dad was caught in an abandoned shack with a rattlesnake. It had nature, adventure, and suspense, all elements of a good tale. I must have made him tell it to me hundreds, if not thousands, of times.

Logs in a boom on Powell Lake.
I know growing up in remote logging camps wasn’t easy, but people made good lives for themselves and their children. Kim, through her mother’s experiences, paints a picture of everyday life for the wives and children of hard-working men. It’s a perspective that isn’t always included in other stories about coastal living. And it’s a lovely tribute to her mother and family. -- Margy

4 comments:

  1. Another book that looks like a good read. Thanks for sharing this info.

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  2. This sounds like a really good book. Thanks so much for sharing.

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  3. I miss Coles bookstores, none left around here anymore, and even the independent book store has closed :(

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    Replies
    1. Our Coles has a new manager. I hope the store doesn't change its attitude towards local authors. - Margy

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