In the disastrous economic times of the 1930s, Joseph Gaston, a young widower with four children, arrives in the small town of Philibuster seeking security for his family. Instead, he faces barriers everywhere. He does his best despite great adversity, but the strain of feeding and protecting his family whittles away his strength. Finally, destitution forces him to consider giving up his children in order to save them. Enraged by his situation, he attempts one last desperate act-on the night he learns about the mysterious Lisa.
Heart wrenching, humorous and historically authentic, Dinner with Lisa incorporates the crucial issues of the depression: poverty, unemployment, drought and racism. In the midst of love and loyalty, trickery and despair, the ultimate message of the novel is one of hope and the courage to survive even the worst odds.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.63(d)|
About the Author
R. L. Prendergast is the author of the novel, The Impact of a Single Event, which became a bestseller in Canada. His second novel, Dinner with Lisa, won an Independent Publisher’s award for best fiction in Western Canada. The Confessions of Socrates is the author’s third book.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Historical fiction is a love of mine, and this book is set in a time period about which I know very little. Sure, I have heard of the Great Depression, and I know basic facts, but I have not read many books set in that era. And this is the first time I have read a book set in Canada during that time period. I felt that the characters were fairly realistic and well-developed. I had no idea that there were so many immigrants from Italy and China that lived in Canada at this time. And the racial tension is something I honestly never considered. When I think about racism, I always think of blacks and whites. I forget about what other races and ethnic groups have experienced, and I had no idea that it was so bad in Canada. To read about the plight of this single father with four kids was truly heart-wrenching sometimes. And to read about the horrific events of the Depression made me realize that as bad as things are now for us with this economy, we have virtually nothing to complain about. I think we often forget about how good we have it! My only criticisms of the manuscript were the language and the fact that sometimes the action lagged a little. I grew tired of the unnecessary profanity--especially from the children. And sometimes the action seemed nonexistent. I appreciated the description, but there were portions of it that read like a classic--which is truly not a bad thing. I was glad that there was no graphic sex in it--a welcome reprieve! One of the most clever things about the book was the title. I kept wondering what on earth the title had to do with the story. I kept wondering who Lisa was. It took almost till the end of the book for me to figure it out! I always enjoy a little twist to the story at the end of the book when you think the story is just about ready to wrap up!
In the 1930's nearly everyone is suffering. Poverty and hunger abound, and people are desperate for work. Joseph Gaston is no exception. A widower with four children, Joseph is persuaded by his half-brother to move across Canada to the town of Philibuster. Joseph's brother assures him there will be work and assistance with child-care there. Only part of that turns out to be true though, and Joseph continues to be destitute. He works to keep a good attitude through it all, but as time goes by he begins to consider drastic measures. In the end, Joseph will find hope and encouragement despite everything. This book was hard to read on many levels. My heart was breaking for Joseph and many of the other people he came across. They all wanted to work so bad, but there were just no jobs to be found. It's hard to watch these people struggle and starve. Joseph managed to keep an amazing attitude through everything all things considered, and he never lost sight of his true focus- keeping his family together and alive. In Joseph, you really saw someone who was doing everything he possibly could and doing the very best he could. That is inspiring in itself. Other characters were interesting as well. The Great Henri, Joseph's half-brother, was someone I never quite got a read on until the end of the book. I couldn't decide whether he was awesome or just a fool. Tilda was another character I never quite decided how I felt about. I didn't necessarily like what she was doing, but I completely understood why she was doing it. This isn't one of those action-packed books with twists and turns. It flows along quietly, much like Joseph in personality. I was extremely interested by the historical aspects of the novel. Knowing that people really struggled like this helped to make this book more real to me. I particularly enjoyed Joseph's ability to see past race and ethnicity and treat people equally. The storyline with his Chinese neighbor really opened my eyes to the extreme racism the Chinese faced then. The end was tied together in a way that surprised me, and like Joseph I had a great deal of hope. I think a lot of people will be able to relate to and learn from the circumstances surrounding the characters in this book. I thought this was a really great book, and if you like a novel that has struggle and hope check this book out. Book provided for review.
I love reading historical fiction and one that is set around the Depression era always grabs my attention. What made this book stand out even more for me was the fact that it was set in Canada during the Depression. The year is 1933 and the Depression has taken its toll on people, including Joseph Gaston.Joseph,is nearing forty and has alot on his plate. His wife Helen died six months earlier while giving birth to baby Clare, leaving him a single parent to their four children. When his brother Henri who lives in Philibuster, tells him about a job there, he decides it just might be the thing his family needs. So with the promise of a job he and his children head off with the hopes of a fresh start. Will Joseph find what he needs in Philibuster to take care of his family? As I read this story the historical elements really came to life, making it obvious that the author had really done his research. The descriptions were so rich and vivid it was easy to envision the scenes as they unfolded. One instance that really captured my attention was the automobiles being pulled by horses because the owners couldn't afford gas.Joseph was a character that really garnered my empathy from the beginning, he was such an honorable man that wanted to take care of his family. There were several secondary characters that rounded out the story, and one that really stood out for me was Ms. Nye, someone that really helped Joseph and his family. Overall, even though some of the dialect in the story was a bit hard for me to decipher, it did lend an authenticity to the story that really fit. A story that pulled me in and kept me reading to see how things would work out for Joseph and his family. Fans of historical fiction that give a very good glimpse of the Depression era in Canada will certainly want to read this one. A complimentary copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.