Friday, February 26, 2016

This book Surprised Me

     I like to read a book that really surprises me by how good it turns out to be. A book was lent to me by a friend why highly recommended it. It was one of those local history biography stories with narrow interest and a small number that were published. I'm interested in local history but it has to have some relation to me or important  events in the history of the area.

      Jack Kates wrote the story of his life while growing up in a small Saskatchewan village during the thirties and forties. The setting makes this story fairly precise. Most people won't have heard of Saskatchewan.

      Well, Jack Kates pulled this off. He wrote a fascinating tale of growing up and the fun he had along the way. This experience shaped him to become a successful man in his field.

       In the early 1900's many Jewish people ran small general stores. Half of the villages had a business owned by Jewish people.

     Jack's family had a small general store in Sheho Saskatchewan. This was a miserable way to make a living. The business was small and credit was given to the customers. Payment of suppliers was difficult. They had a cow, some chickens and grew a vegetable garden. They also picked wild fruit. They survived the many hardships. Things improved for the family during the forties.

      Jack's childhood activities are many. His teenage years and worries are like any other teenager.

     Jack's Jewish faith played an important part in his life and that's what made the book for me. Jack describes his daily life following Jewish religious traditions. They ate kosher food. They celebrated all the Jewish holy times. He describes his bar mitzvah.  the family struggled to maintain contact with the few Jewish people scattered over a wide area.I was familiar with the Jewish faith as I'd read many other books which has Jewish characters. This description was a humorous and laid back and easy to understand..

     And there was a small connection to me in Jack's story. His cousin had a store next to my home town and directed a very competent community band. Jack had also been a friend of one of the best dentists I ever had.

     My wife also read this book. We read in bed and she has the annoying habit of laughing out loud at funny things in a story. She did a lot a of laughing when she read this story.

    Now I won't go out on a limb and recommend that everybody read this book. It's focus is just too narrow for many people to get a feeling of the setting and lifestyle. I just want you to know that this book surprised me and that I really liked it.