Joan McGrath is a Toronto Board of Education library consultant.
Madronna, the island best known and best loved by a great many city dwellers, is the quite imaginary place created by Jean Howarth in her regular “Treasure Island” column in the Globe and Mail. Madronna is a microcosm: here is all you will ever need to know of humanity in a tiny circumference. The population hovers somewhere in the fifties, give or take a few tiresome but necessary summer visitors. You must understand that living on Madronna is not at all like life on the mainland, where you can take people or leave them, according to your likes and dislikes. Here you have to take them, all of them, like it or not. You need them, and they need you. That being the case, you get to know a lot of people (and animals too) inside and out, the way city dwellers seldom have the time or inclination to do, which gives island life a depth and quality not to be found elsewhere. Beautifully written, with a lovingly humourous understanding of what it is that makes people, with all their kinks and quirks, the treasures of Treasure Island.