Fraser Valley Poets Society

  • FVPS on Facebook

  • Subscribe to our Newsletter

    Get news of upcoming FVPS poetry events delivered right to your inbox. Sign up HERE. Browse Newsletter Archive.
  • A Poets Passion Revisited

    A Poets Passion Revisited by T M Broadworth

    A Poets Passion Revisited by T. M. Broadworth - A collection of personal writings and photo art celebrating the complexities of life.

  • A Familiar Shore

    A Familiar Shore by Emily Isaccson. Stories of four women told in poetry, parable and myth

  • The Healing Power of Nature

    The Healing Power of Nature - cover image

    The Healing Power of Nature by Satwant Kaur Pandher. This full-color hardcover book contains over 50 poems and many photos. Click on image for details.

  • Calendar

    Calendar - ebook cover

    Calendar by Violet Nesdoly. Contains over 50 poems that explore the rhythms of the year, nature, life & the family. FREE! Click on image for details.

  • A Poetic Kaleidoscope

    A Poetic Kaleidoscope - book cover

    A Poetic Kaleidoscope by T. W. Goodrich: "... something for all readers: short, long, deep, simple, painful, and hopeful poems" - Reviewer (Click on image for details.)

  • the space between the eyes

    the space between the eyes - cover

    A first collection by Nicholas Roberts, the space between the eyes contains over 50 poems. Click on image for details.

  • Hours From A Convent

    Hours From A Convent  - Cover

    Hours From A Convent by Emily Isaacson. Poems from the perspective of a young nun. Click on image for details.

  • Magnoliye De Phul

    'Magnoliye De Phul' by Satwant Pander was inspired by Satwant's love of nature. Click on image for details.

  • Colours of My Heart

    Colours of My Heart - Poems by Surjeet Kalsey. Click on image for details.

  • Fritzy

    Fritzy is a novelette, by Donna Bishop based on Fritzy's childhood. Informative reading for a ten year old. Delightful reading for an adult. Click on image for details.

  • Categories

  • Copyrights and Permissions

    © 2018 – All poems and photos on this site are protected by copyright and may not be reproduced or used elsewhere without specific permission of their respective owners.

The Boy in Me – reviews

Book review: The Boy in Me by Alvin Ens

Readers across ages and backgrounds will delight in these homey stories.

Title: The Boy In Me

Author: Alvin Ens

Publisher: Ensa Publishing, Abbotsford, B.C., paperback, 140 pages

Genre: Fiction

ISBN: 978-0-9732224-4-9

Price: $16.95

The Boy In Me is the fictional account of Edgar Schroeder, the prairie boy who, like the book’s author Alvin Ens, grew up in Saskatchewan and then moved to Abbotsford, British Columbia. When Edgar’s 85-year-old mother can no longer live alone in her Saskatchewan home, his siblings volunteer him, a recently retired teacher and new widower, as interim caregiver till a spot in a care home opens up.

The book begins with “Still Waters,” the story of Edgar driving his mother through an Alberta blizzard to her new home with him. Their conversation jogs the first of Edgar’s many memories – reminiscences of his childhood and adolescence – that reveal the boy inside the man.

These spill out in rich chronology as his mother spends the next five months with him. Her question about where he will get ham for the Mennonite kielke noodles she’s making, for example, revives the memory of the days his family spent butchering and preparing their winter meat supply. His promise to cook her some west coast cuisine – a salmon perhaps – brings to mind fishing for goldeyes in the Saskatchewan River. Her query about the cost of his golf equipment reminds him of the hours of fun he and his friends had playing with an inexpensive rubber ball.

Each of the 23 chapters is a self-contained story. Many have been previously published in places like Canadian Stories and several have won prizes. But they feel like one story too, due to the single narrator and his first person telling which ties them together well and makes the book feel like an organic unity.

Ens is a great storyteller, managing to grasp what is going on under the surface, articulate complicated emotions, and describe revealing interactions between characters. In his typical style he often plays with words, extracting every ounce of goodness, like a dog chews a bone. Here, for example, is a paragraph from “Ready” – a story about Edgar and his typing teacher:

“’You have ten minutes for exercise 33 and then we’ll hand it to the person behind you and correct. Are you ready?’ said McCredy the Ready, that battle-ax, Battle X, Battle M. McCredy, the Ready. With her favourite question, ‘Are we all ready?’ McCredy the Ready. McCredy the ready, always ready with her whip. In front of me everyone was typing. What? Had I missed the signal? I typed frantically.” p. 106.

The stories touch on a multitude of themes – parenting and being a parent, discovering yourself, learning values of honesty, truthfulness, compassion, and obedience, and showing how a slide into skepticism doesn’t necessarily mean the end of faith. There is lots of prairie boy risk and delight, adolescent coming of age and first love, with a dessert of adult romance, all garnished with fattening dollops of Mennonite deliciousness.

As someone whose ethnic upbringing is similar to Edgar’s (and Ens’s) I found The Boy In Me resonated on many levels. But its exploration of ageless human themes transcends ethnicity. This novella-length book is pure gold in its detailing of childhood memories, its sly humor and its generous portions of life-wisdom. Readers across ages and backgrounds will delight in these homey stories.

– Reviewed by Violet Nesdoly

Order by email.

Or to order by surface mail send $16.95 to:

Alvin Ens

3947 Paradise Place,

Abbotsford, V2S 8E3

(Price includes shipping.)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: