Deborah L. Begoray is an associate professor in the Faculty of Education
at the University of Victoria in British Columbia.
“Every year she and her father would watch the geese arrive in the
soft, spring nights and leave in the crisp air of fall. Margaret was
comfortable with the geese going, sure in the knowledge they would
return. Except this year—this year she was sure of nothing.”
Flying Geese tells the story of 12-year-old Margaret Brown and her
family when they leave their well-loved but unproductive Saskatchewan
farm and travel to London, Ontario, in search of a better life. The
story depicts events in Canada during the Second World War.
The “flying geese” of the title refer to Margaret’s quilting
project. The project follows Margaret’s emotional journey from a
desperate hope that she and her family will be able to return home to
her gradual realization that everything has changed. Otherwise, the
story is a predictable one of obstacles overcome. Margaret deals with a
short-tempered mother (one who occasionally hits her) pregnant with her
seventh child, a father with an injured back who cannot find work, an
aunt and cousin who talk down to her, a sharp-tongued elderly landlady
grieving for her son lost in the First World War, a friend being abused
by her mother, and schoolmates who tease her. This stock of characters
will probably be familiar to most readers; nevertheless, the author
presents them with skill. The book is well-crafted. Recommended.