The Boy by Betty Jane HegeratThe Boy by Betty Jane Hegerat

The Boy

byBetty Jane Hegerat

Paperback | March 1, 2011

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In 1959 Ray and Daisy Cook and their five children were brutally slain in their modest home in the central Alberta town of Stettler. Robert Raymond Cook, Ray Cook?s son from his first marriage, was convicted of the crime, and had the infamy of becoming the last man hanged in Alberta. Forty-six years later, a troublesome character named Louise in a story that Betty Jane Hegerat finds herself inexplicably reluctant to write, becomes entangled in the childhood memory of hearing about that gruesome mass murder. Through four years of obsessively tracking the demise of the Cook family, and dancing around the fate of the fictional family, the problem that will not go away is how to bring the story to the page. A work of non-fiction about the Cooks and their infamous son, or a novel about Louise and her problem stepson? Both stories keep coming back to the boy. Part memoir, part investigation, part novella, part writer?s journal, The Boy, is the author?s final capitulation to telling the story with all of the troublesome questions unanswered.

About The Author

Betty Jane Hegerat has been a social worker, a teacher, and a serious student of fiction. She has studied at the University of Alberta, University of Calgary, Sage Hill, the Banff Centre, and the University of British Columbia where she completed an MFA in Creative Writing. Domesticity, the messy dynamics of family, the search for ?hom...
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Details & Specs

Title:The BoyFormat:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 8.53 × 5.52 × 0.73 inPublished:March 1, 2011Publisher:Oolichan BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0889822751

ISBN - 13:9780889822757

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from I liked the writing style and various conversations carried on throughout the book. Weaving the history of the murders in with the fictional story and the dialogue of author and character added dimension.
Date published: 2014-04-19
Rated 1 out of 5 by from boring I felt like I read the story of these real life murders, over and over again throughout the whole book, without any new revelation or change. In the end - left me feeling "why did I spent time reading this"? no good answer.
Date published: 2014-01-14
Rated 3 out of 5 by from The book was ok but it dragged out a lot . My family is from Camrose and I was 6 when the murders took place but I did not know of it until reading the book. No one talked about it.
Date published: 2013-11-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Meditation on Both Murder and Literary Creation I did not initially expect to be drawn into this book. The premise of the book didn't appeal to me: here was the author talking about her struggles to create a novel, along with portions of the novel, instead of the finished product of a novel. It sounded like a project that simply didn't work. But as I read, I was immediately captivated by the main focus of the book and by the way the author took me into her confidence to expose the creative process. Hegerat's book runs on two parallel tracks, as the author tries to let the fictional character Louise tell her story, and as she tries to understand the real life story that serves as part inspiration for the fictional work--the story of Robert Raymond Cook, who may or may not have murdered his own family. The book also includes an active dialogue between the author and her own creation, Louise. But the more she investigates it, the more Cook's story takes on a life of its own. Ultimately this non-fiction thread acquires greater significance to Hegerat the author than just as a source of inspiration for her fictional work. She determines to understand the incomprehensible crime, and eventually concedes that it is a mystery that can never be fully understood. And in the process, the reader receives a meditation both on the creative process and on the mystery of what might provoke someone to do an infamous deed. This is both a work of fiction and non-fiction, though ultimately it probably can be classified as "creative non-fiction", an examination of real life events which relies in part on the devices and conventions of fiction. It is, in any event, a compelling read.
Date published: 2012-08-22