Blue Becomes You


254 pages
ISBN 1-894283-37-6
DDC C813'.6




Reviewed by Susan Thomas

Susan Thomas is a middle-school guidance counselor, teacher, and social
worker in Milton, Ontario.


Charlotte has heart problems and must retire from her job as a baker in
a small Manitoban town. She reflects on her life and the tug that she
has always felt to leave Norman, Manitoba, to pursue a life filled with
music. Her sister, June, who had worked in the city, returned to live
out her days watching daytime television and singing in the United
Church choir.

This small prairie town is full of lonely people. Wade, bullied as a
boy, has gender-identity problems and experiments with homosexuality
during his time away. He returns home filled with self-doubt and
conflict. Vi ventures out for a while, but also returns to run the
family bakery shop. Still dreaming of becoming a dancer, Doris leaves
school to work in the bakery. Kuldip, Charlotte’s neighbour, settles
for life in this small town far from his native India, and struggles
with loneliness after his wife’s stroke.

There is no humour in this story, no vibrant colour and little music.
At times, we sense that Charlotte regards those around her with a
certain irony; she is enchanted by the spicy cooking in Kuldip’s
bachelor kitchen. But with a few precious exceptions, the ghosts in
Charlotte’s life, past and present, move around her like shadowy,
listless figures. Blue is as lively as it gets.


von Kampen, Bettina., “Blue Becomes You,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 12, 2024,