Review of Through My Lens

THROUGH MY LENS by Gwynne Hunt

Review by Elma Schemenauer

When Gwynne Hunt was 69, she discovered that her biological father wasn’t Ronald Robinson, as she had always thought. He was Harold Larsen. In her biographical book THROUGH MY LENS, she tells the stories of her stepfather, her father, her mother—Gunvor Berglund—and many people in their lives.

The book spans the years from the 1920s into the early 1980s, and takes place in parts of Ontario and Western Canada, especially British Columbia. It explores aspects of the Great Depression, military service, poverty, unstable families, alcoholism, and crimes ranging from shoplifting to forgery to drug dealing and scams of various kinds.

The three parents Hunt portrays in the book all came from church backgrounds, but rejected religious influences as they grew up. Though they often behaved in ways that were not admirable, honest, or morally upright, their story held my attention from beginning to end.

Hunt is a strong writer with good insights into personality and character. Examples:

-“Ron and Marie never settled into a happily married life. The two of them never settled into anything.”

-“She did not feel like the girl who grew up on the farm anymore, with morals and love in her heart.”

-“He turned every life experience into something grander than it was.”

-“He knew he had not lived up to his potential as a man, a husband, or a father.”

I’m interested in history so I especially appreciate Hunt’s historical references and insights. Examples:

-“During World War I he was a pigeon keeper, helping the war effort with training homing pigeons.”

-Regarding the Great Depression: “They were not all that sad about going to jail; three squares a day.”

-Regarding after-effects of military service: “He still had nightmares from the war. Harold never really knew how to reach out for help, not for his drinking and not for his trauma suffered during World War II.”

-“When they all started smoking, it was portrayed as glamorous and harmless.”

Sometimes I wish the author had written in a more chronological way, for example, when recounting the events of Gunvor’s earlier years. Occasionally I wasn’t sure what was happening, for example, regarding some scams the characters perpetrated. On the whole though, I enjoyed THROUGH MY LENS and recommend it. The newspaper clippings reproduced at the end are a nice addition.

Elma (Martens) Schemenauer is the author of 70-plus books published in Canada and the United States. One is YESTERCANADA: HISTORICAL TALES OF MYSTERY AND ADVENTURE. Another is the 1940s-era Saskatchewan Mennonite novel CONSIDER THE SUNFLOWERS. Both are published by Borealis Press of Ottawa. Her website is https://elmams.wixsite.com/elma .

About Gwynne Hunt gwynne1@telus.net

I am a writer, activist, producer, director and creative performance artist. My new book Through My Lens is based on newspaper clippings going back to 1928; the stories in-between the clippings are about my mom Gunvor Berglund, my step-dad Ronald Robinson and my DNA father Harold Larsen. How did they come together to make me? Some of the research was shocking, some funny but it left me to define the parts of the story I did not know. a tribute to my three parents. My last book, Unlocking the Tin box is about my journey into trying to find our who I was, who my father was; a complicated con man and a carny. But he was more than that and the journey took me as far as doing DNA tests, digging through his old tin box and an examination of my own life. Published by Silver Bow Publishing, available from the Publisher, Amazon and the Author. Fifteen years ago, the book ‘Rampage; the pathology of an epidemic’ written by me was released at the International Celebration of Women in Abbotsford. The book is my personal journey over six years working on the book and the Memory March (a walk/vigil honouring over 4,000 missing and murdered women and children in Canada). It includes interviews with grassroots' workers she met. There are a lot of individual, concerned people who work to end violence against women. One of those women is Mary Billy, a writer and activist in Squamish. There are interviews, case stories and conversations with family member’s who have lost loved ones. The book is not about how we are going to end the violence but an examination of the problems, concerns and stereotypical thinking that keeps us trapped in a cycle of violence. Included are the names of 4,000 missing and murdered women and children that have been compiled for The List. Other books include bruises & bad haircuts (poetry) and Bob & Boo. (illustrated by my grandkids)
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1 Response to Review of Through My Lens

  1. jetnewbie says:

    Nice!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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