Lori's Book Nook

“We were only loggers.”

Posted on: June 2, 2009

The Badger Riot

Outside of Canada, even outside of the Maritimes, not much is known about the 1959 riot in Badger, Newfoundland. It might be something that a someone might have mentioned once, maybe in a discussion of strikes gone bad, a reminiscence from your old uncle perhaps.

But get your hands on a copy of The Badger Riot by J.A. Ricketts, published 2008 by Flanker Press in Newfoundland and you will never forget that little 1950s town where the 3 rivers meet.

Now, I got my copy from my buddy who is co-owner at Flanker Press. He’d been crowing about this book all over the Internet, so I stuck up my hand and said “Hey man, throw a copy my way!” (If you’ve been here before, you know I’m always up for a free book.)  To be honest, my mouth started watering when I read the absolutely glowing review from the Globe and Mail, entitled A Lovely Labour of Death:

“The Badger Riot is, on the surface, a novel about an important event in Newfoundland labour history: a three-month loggers strike in Badger, led by the International Woodworkers of America (IWA).

But it is much more than a run-of-the-mill strike drama. The Badger Riot is also a vivid portrait, beautifully rendered, of Newfoundland in the 1950s. Ricketts fashions a scrapbook, sharing with the reader snapshots of the countryside, the people, the architecture, the smells and the history. Ricketts even captures the Newfoundland accents in the dialogue.”

So, as you can see, this is not a book to shy away because you think it’s likely to be dry history — it’s actually a riveting piece of fictionized history that will have you turning pages, caught up in the building tension. I heartily agree with the reviewer:

“A word of friendly warning: Once you start reading the last third of The Badger Riot , you will not be able to stop. Set aside plenty of time. The prose carries you from chapter to chapter like a bobsled.”

The author was one of the children who unwittingly witnessed the riot itself, standing on a snowbank at 14 years old with her friends…as the clarity of the descriptions can attest to. This is not some maudlin’, over-wrought prose — the language is spare and honest, with moving points-of-view to capture a feeling of the whole community.

A book 50 years in the making. Unfortunately, like a special dinner one slaves over for hours, it is devoured quickly.

Thank you, Jerry. It was delicious.

(*Astute readers will note that, yes, this is the first time I’ve used images in a post. I just discovered that WP has made it virtually idiot-proof!)

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4 Responses to "“We were only loggers.”"

Lori, God love ya. I’m glad you enjoyed the book!

Cheers, Jerry. If this is the quality of book you folks produce, good on ya!

Dear Lori:
Thank you for reading my book and thank you for your very kind comments. As a first time author, I appreciate your review. No one is more amazed than I that people like what I have written. I am living proof that one is never too old to follow one’s dream.

Jerry is indeed a fine fella and a good friend. Thanks, Jerry, for getting the book to Lori. God love you too 🙂

Judy

Well thank you Judy for dropping by. The strength of this book is in the description — a light touch, but vivid…sort of like someone had actually been there! 😀

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