Escape from the Glue Factory: A Memoir of a Paranormal Toronto Childhood in the Late Forties


112 pages
ISBN 0-920428-72-X





Reviewed by Joan McGrath

Joan McGrath is a Toronto Board of Education library consultant.


Joe Rosenblatt captures the essence of a downtown Toronto childhood in the late forties in prose that is often a forceful reminder that the author is a much-anthologized poet. This is the remembered world of a street-smart kid, interpreted by the affectionate and understanding reminiscence of a worldly-wise, sophisticated, and very literate adult. Rosenblatt calls his memoirs a “paranormal childhood,” and indeed, it is not the voice of “everychild” that speaks through this powerful prose. The author came to awareness in a very special neighbourhood at a special time, when his solidly Jewish community was still a downtown entity, with the D’Arcy Street Talmud Torah as its centre. His world was peopled by the mysterious adults who staffed schools, ran stores, and operated movie houses, and by the host of other kids who swarmed the streets with him. He recalls them, and with them, almost as real, return such figures of his boyhood imagination as Eddy, con #9 on Dcath Row, to haunt his recollections. Thirty-five short pieces, few of them longer than five pages, several but a single page, recreate a colourful world that is part imagination, part history.


Rosenblatt, Joe, “Escape from the Glue Factory: A Memoir of a Paranormal Toronto Childhood in the Late Forties,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 24, 2024,