Where I Belong

Where I Belong

From Small Town to Great Big Sea

Book - 2014
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From the lead singer of the band Great Big Sea comes a memoir about growing up in the tiny fishing village of Petty Harbour, Newfoundland, and then taking to the world stage. Alan paints a vivid and raucous portrait of a curious young lad born into the small coastal fishing community of Petty Harbour, Newfoundland, a childhood surrounded by larger-than-life characters who made an indelible impression on his music and work; of his first job on the wharf cutting out cod tongues for fishermen; of growing up in a family of five in a two-bedroom house with a beef-bucket as a toilet, yet lacking nothing; of learning at his father's knee how to sing the story of a song and learning from his mother how to simply "be good." Small-town life, curiosity and creative fulfillment, and finally, about leaving everything you know behind only to learn that no matter where you go, home will always be with you.
Publisher: Toronto : Doubleday Canada, 2014.
ISBN: 9780385680363
Branch Call Number: 780.92 DOYLE
Characteristics: xvi, 314 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.


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To be read for December 13th.

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Sep 18, 2020

This book gave me 6 straight hours of joyful entertainment. I had a smile on my face the whole time. The guy is a natural born story teller.

Jan 29, 2020

I also listened to the audiobook narrated by the author in his beautiful Newfoundland accent. I agree with the other comments but some parts were a wee bit repetitive for me regarding all the sibling rivalry and little boy mischief. But I did enjoy the book, and the feeling of freedom and community reminded me of my own childhood growing up on the west coast (minus the "cuttin' out tongues"!). Basically a love letter to Petty Harbour, and rightly deserved.

Nov 10, 2017

I should preface this review with the disclaimer that I ABHOR memoirs. All of them. Every last one. Fiction is what I hold most dear. I do enjoy the occasional non-fiction publication. I've even been known to read a poem or two when the mood is right. Memoirs, on the other hand, have never, ever impressed me. They straddle a line somewhere between truth and fantasy and never seem to do well in either area. The "truth" often seems too far-fetched to be believable and the "fantasy" is usually not made-up enough to read as good fiction. That all being said, this book is the exception.

I loved every single second of this memoir. It was touching without being too sentimental. It was legitimately funny without making Newfoundlanders the butt of the joke. Above all else, it was intelligently and heartfully written and I was captivated from the first word until the last.

Second disclosure (and the hugest of suggestions): I "read" the audio book and I suggest you do the same. I own the hard back version but, after having heard Alan Doyle speak at a Writers Festival event, I knew hearing him read the book be the way to go. The 10 hours I spent listening to Doyle spin the tales from his book were the highlight of an otherwise stressful week. I borrowed a copy from my local library but immediately turned around and bought my own audio version so I could listen to it again when I need a pick-me-up.

Do yourself a favour and read this book. It will warm your heart. It will inform you on a part of Canada and it's people that are so rarely highlighted in a positive light. It may even make you laugh so hard that tears run down your legs.

This book definitely takes a top spot to be one of the best books I've read in 2017.

Oct 05, 2015

An excellent, amusing read from an amazing storyteller. Not surprising, since a good East Coast/Newfoundland/Irish song is a story. \\ Also a book full of history and love -- of family, friends, culture, and place. \\ From the prologue: "Spin the planet like a globe. Stop it... when you... spot an odd-shaped island. If you're lucky enough, you'll visit it one day." And the book goes on to reinforce that point.

curtip May 16, 2015

A great read about growing up in small town Newfoundland . Brings back a lot of memories from growing up in rural N.B. A very enjoyable book that I could not put down.

smc01 Feb 21, 2015

This is a pitch-perfect memoir by a talented Canadian. Full of charm, humour and great stories, I could not put it down. It's filled with the warmth of families and friends and the culture of Newfoundland. If one can't travel to Petty Harbour, Nfld, this must be the next best thing.

rowanquincy Feb 07, 2015

This author is great at storytelling. All about growing up in Newfoundland. I learned a lot about Newfoundland and enjoyed the entire book. Looking forward to the next one.

LaughingOne Jan 13, 2015

This is an enjoyable read, not just about the early life of Alan Doyle, but also about life in a small town in Newfoundland.


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Oct 05, 2015

Now go run up and down the hill. [A recurring phrase used by parents and adults to get kids out from underfoot.]

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