I got this book quite awhile ago and started reading it, and then somehow put it down and didn’t pick it up for awhile. It’s certainly not that I wasn’t enjoying it; Doyle’s memories of growing up in Petty Harbour, a fishing village half and hour’s drive from downtown St. John’s, are engaging and often very funny. For some reason I just found it a book that was easy to dip into for a short read and then lay down again for awhile. Then, all of a sudden, I picked it up again after several months and finished it in a day.
Alan Doyle is younger than I am, but reading his memoir I often get the feeling that he grew up a generation earlier. This is what we in Newfoundland know as the townie/bayman divide; even in the 1970s, life in the outports (“around the bay”) was several decades behind life in the city a short distance away. Doyle’s memories include cutting cod tongues for pocket money, living without indoor plumbing, and being warned to stay away from Protestants. (He’s especially good, and funny, on the Catholic vs. Protestant religious divide of the community he grew up in, and his story of discovering the doctrine of transubstantiation made me literally LOL).
But it’s also a very modern story, of a boy who grows up loving music, learning to play the guitar, and eventually starting a junior high band. The story of how he gets from there to frontman of the most successful band ever to come out of Newfoundland takes up fewer pages of the book than Doyle’s childhood memories, but is no less entertaining. This is a good read, and you should not judge it by how long it took me to finish, because I thoroughly enjoyed it!