A Fool in Paradise: An Artist's Early Life


257 pages
Contains Photos
ISBN 0-921912-03-X
DDC 759.11




Reviewed by Tony Barclay

Tony Barclay is a retired juvenile corrections probation officer and a
former public-health research associate at the University of Toronto.


McCarthy is a distinguished Canadian landscape painter particularly
noted for her studies of the Arctic. A member of the Order of Canada,
she is well known for her broadcasts and her many other activities. In
this new autobiography dealing with her childhood and early adulthood,
she includes a portfolio of pictures. The book succeeds not only because
it has a most interesting story to tell but because McCarthy is a gifted
storyteller as well as a remarkable person.

After winning a scholarship to the Ontario College of Art at age 15,
she studied there under Arthur Lismer and others. Upon graduation she
became a teacher, a profession she followed for much of her life. She
pioneered imaginative approaches to teaching art, replacing dull,
reproductive exercises with exciting and lively ideas. She also did
important work in the field of puppetry.

A deeply religious person, she early on became involved in the Canadian
Girls in Training program. Her well-known religious artwork has added
much warmth to her life, as well as garnering appreciation from her many
admirers. Above all, this book is an account of growing up in a past
age. It depicts a Toronto steeped in religion. With keen wit and
compelling honesty, McCarthy recounts deeply unhappy experiences as well
as many happy ones. Only a woman of exceptional courage could have
written this moving account of a life lived to the full.


McCarthy Doris., “A Fool in Paradise: An Artist's Early Life,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 22, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/10738.