Vinyl Café Diaries


302 pages
ISBN 0-14-301480-3
DDC C813'.54




Reviewed by Lynne Perras

Lynne Perras teaches communication arts at the University of Calgary.


Writer, broadcaster, and entertainer Stuart McLean is a two-time winner
of the Stephen Leacock Award for Humour. His collection of books
revolving around the lives of his fictional radio family are sincere,
heartfelt, and at times side-splittingly funny.

Vinyl Café Diaries once again presents stories about Dave, a record
store owner; his wife Morley; their two children, Stephanie and Sam; and
their dog, Arthur. The book is divided into four parts that each
contains four stories; each section begins with a commentary by Dave,
Morley, Stephanie, and Sam. The stories themselves reveal people who are
by turns baffled, amused, or grateful for the challenges and rewards
encountered in everyday life. “Tree of Heaven” and “Walking Man”
offer a wistful and touching humour, as Dave contemplates the spiritual
amid the mundane. “Dave and the Duck” and “Rashida, Amir and the
Great Gift Giving” suggest a physical humour as Dave struggles with
the institution of marriage, Christmas traditions, multicultural
misunderstandings, and the effort required to keep up with the Joneses.
In stories centred on Stephanie and Sam, respectively, McLean chronicles
the painful processes involved with going to university and attending a
first dance. His characterization and ear for dialogue are superb.

Vinyl Café Diaries is guaranteed not only to elicit much laughter but
also to secure Stuart McLean’s place in Canada’s list of national


McLean, Stuart., “Vinyl Café Diaries,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 20, 2024,