Thursday, 4 June 2015

Review: The Canary Room by Edwin F. Casebeer & Linda Casebeer

In the spring of 1945, a young boy in the Pacific Northwest will make a life-or-death decision. Every morning, Herman "Hermy" Auerbach awakens to the pre-dawn song of canaries. The porch where he sleeps contains dozens of the songbirds. Outside, in the wider world, the Second World War enters its final, bloody months. Hermy comes to the Williams' house under protest after his parents' divorce, a result of his father leaving home initially to pursue his impossible dream of becoming an intelligence officer. Herman's mother, remarried to a sailor, abandons her son to move across the country and start another family with her new husband. By the time he takes up residency in the canary room, Hermy has already suffered both from abandonment and bullying. Life with the large, messy Williams clan offers Hermy little relief, although he bonds with the other boys in the family. When the boys hatch a wild escape plan, Hermy finds himself facing death, and deciding if his life is worth the struggle to survive after losing everything. A compelling story of one boy's struggle to survive the uncertainties of foster care and the war, The Canary Room brings to life the daily challenges of life on the US home front in vivid, historically accurate detail.

Paperback, 280 pages
Published July 28th 2014 by Createspace 
Genre: Historical Fiction

Kristine's Thoughts: 

**I received a copy of this book through a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review.**

There could have been a beautiful story here but it got totally lost in the style and writing. First off, it was completely over written and complicated. The way in which it was delivered was a mess. I had to double check because I thought maybe I had an ARC with the different sized fonts, bold type and italic. It went back and forth between stories, characters and situations without any warning so much that I couldn't keep track of everything. It felt a little like an English assignment in school that was almost impossible to get a good mark on because it was so much work. A good book shouldn't require so much work. I felt like the author was trying too hard to prove his talent but in the effort alienated the audience.

I feel bad because the actual story had great potential. It was the way that it was delivered that basically ruined it for me. If it was just told in a straight forward, less messy way it might have stood a chance. Reading a book shouldn't feel like an assignment and this one did. It took the pleasure right out of it.

I am giving it 2 stars based on the story that I did find hidden in it.

About the Authors

Edwin Casebeer was born in Boise, Idaho in 1933. He earned graduate degrees at the University of Montana and the University of Washington. He is currently Professor Emeritus, following his career as Professor and English Department Chair at Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI). He specialized in popular culture studies. He has published Herman Hesse, a definitive work on this author, as well as short stories in Evergreen Review. He currently serves as Editor in Chief for, an online new fiction site.

Linda Casebeer was born in 1947 in Boone, Iowa. She and her husband, Edwin, have five children. She earned graduate degrees at The Citadel and Indiana University, and was Associate Prefessor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine. She is the cofounder of She has written The Last Eclipsed Moon, poems pulished by Cherry Grove Collections, and Love Spells, published as a serial story on, and as a novella by Seralities Press.

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