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The Incident Report by Martha Baillie

14 Sep

If you are a librarian, the likelihood of your intimate knowledge of incident reports is pretty high. Let’s face it-the public library is not a place for quiet reflection and study so much as a gathering point for all things public…the good, the bad and the freakin’ hilarious.

Baillie’s book outlines all of the above in chapters listed as different incident reports told from the view of Miriam, a children’s librarian at the Toronto Public Library.  She carefully weaves stories of the different patrons that come into her library as well as the life she has lived and hopes to live.  The only story to repeat is the continuous letters she receives from an anonymous Rigoletto who in intent on making sure nothing happens to his Gilda.

This is a quick read, I read it in a few hours transfixed sitting on my couch.  The incident report format makes it almost feel like short stories that are all tied together in an eerie ride to the end of the book. The reader gets to know Miriam’s life on the surface with surprising jumps into her depths that startle because in the end, you really don’t know much more than when you started but you are greatly affected by her life.  It may be that I can’t shake this book because I’m a librarian and I recognize so many of the people in the story, including Miriam.  Then again, it may be because we all try to let go of the scary moments and in this book Baillie refuses to let us take the easy way out. 2009, 195 pages.

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Posted by on September 14, 2009 in General Fiction

 

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