Jedediah Days: One Woman's Island Paradise
Contains Photos, Maps
Lori A. Dunn is a teacher, instructional designer, and freelance writer
in New Westminster, British Columbia.
Jedediah Days tells the story of the years Mary Palmer and her family
lived on Jedediah Island, between Texada and Lasqueti Islands in the
Strait of Georgia. It tells of Palmer’s dream to live away from
society and specifically away from the stresses of running a landscaping
business in Washington State. She and her first husband bought the
island in 1949, and at first she and her sons spent their summer
vacations there. The pressures of a long-distance marriage broke up her
first marriage, but in her second, she found someone who shared her
dream to live away from the pressures and pleasures of civilization. In
1992, they moved away from the island and have since managed to engineer
the Jedediah’s makeover as a provincial park.
The book consists largely of vignettes of life on this isolated
paradise. Palmer writes of the people who lived on nearby islands, and
of the serendipitous visits from tourists and sailors in the area. She
shares with us both the difficulties and the joys of her almost 50-year
life on the island. Her writing style is choppy and wavers between
extreme formality and the personal. While this is not necessarily a
detriment, it is disconcerting.
Instead of writing the great Canadian novel, Palmer has given us part
of the great Canadian story—the story of a woman and her children
living in the middle of nowhere, living the life of our ancestors, the
pioneers. There is a trend toward simplicity in our modern lives.
Jedediah Days satisfies our curiosity about the “simple life”; at
the same time, it is a truly Canadian story.