So I’m out Christmas shopping and I’m in Type Books on Queen Street and there’s the new Quill & Quire on the magazine rack and on the cover it says there’s a review of The Guardians inside. Do I look? If it’s a thumbs-downer, it risks souring my dinner. But the thing is…I’m curious. It will be the first official review of the book. Later, I can afford not to care. But the first? You never forget your first.
I buy a copy and Heidi reads it out loud to me on the drive home. But before she does, I notice two things: 1) it’s a full-page Feature Review (which is good, as it allows the reviewer the space to get down-and-dirty serious), and 2) the reviewer is James Grainger, who is tough, allergic to bullshit (did I mention tough?). Then Heidi starts to read the thing. And it’s…good! Good in the sense that it’s thoughtful, hits the novel’s themes and insights squarely, and provides excellent context both for the novel and for my work. And good in the sense that the reviewer liked the thing.
It’s only one review, I know. It reminds me of the ironic headlines that followed the Maple Leafs’ opening game win this season: “Leafs Undefeated.” Of course, there were defeats to come (plenty, in the case of the Leafs). But you can’t take that first win away.