The Invitation: A Novel for Young Adults


178 pages
ISBN 0-920813-54-2
DDC jC813'.54




Reviewed by Darleen R. Golke

Darleen R. Golke is a high-school teacher and librarian in Winnipeg.


An invitation to a small Ontario town’s high-school reunion provides
the catalyst for Baskin’s portrayal of three contemporary young women,
their dysfunctional lives, their struggles, their hopes, and their
eventual optimism. The story is organized into nine triads that reflect
the development of each woman’s self-discovery and healing process.

During their high-school years, the three young women develop a close
friendship. Five years later, Karen, a Native single parent with a
4-year-old daughter, still lives and works in her home town, Cookstown.
Rediscovering her heritage through her relationship with a Native Elder
brings Karen healing and strength. Nancy, a Métis currently majoring in
English at the University of Toronto, struggles to understand family
tragedies and her own dissatisfaction with her life and relationships.
She begins the healing process after she attends a conference that
focuses on children of alcoholic parents. Michelle, the Anglo-Saxon
member of the trio, works as a waitress after dropping out and wandering
from city to city. She attempts suicide, and, in the follow-up
counseling, begins the painful process of understanding herself and her
actions. All three women conclude that “alcohol had shaped their
lives,” since each of their families suffered because of a parent’s
alcohol addiction. The three find music—especially that of Bruce
Springsteen—both a tie that maintains their friendship and a means of
therapy as they struggle to take charge of their lives. In the final
chapter, they come together to share their victories and views of the

Using graphic and explicit language, Baskin has created three
interesting and realistic young women in The Invitation. Social problems
characteristic of modern life are presented in a direct and often raw
style—appropriately so, for the topic of addiction and its effects on
the families cannot be discussed without providing authentic detail.
Readers of high-school age should appreciate Baskin’s presentation of
contemporary life, and they should be encouraged by the optimism with
which she concludes the story.


Baskin, Cyndy., “The Invitation: A Novel for Young Adults,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 19, 2024,