Watermelon Syrup: A Novel

Paperback | September 10, 2007

byAnnie Jacobsen, Jane Finlay-Young, Di Brandt

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Lexi, a young Mennonite woman from Saskatchewan, comes to work as housekeeper and nanny for a doctor’s family in Waterloo, Ontario, during the Depression. Dr. Gerald Oliver is a handsome philanderer who lives with his neurotic and alcoholic wife, Cammy, and their two children. Lexi soon adapts to modern conveniences, happily wears Cammy’s expensive cast off clothes, and is transformed from an innocent into a chic urban beauty. When Lexi is called home to Saskatchewan to care for her dying mother, she returns a changed person.

At home, Lexi finds a journal written by her older brother during the family’s journey from Russia to Canada. In it she reads of a tragedy kept secret for years, one hat reconciles her early memories of her mother as joyful and loving with the burdened woman she became in Canada. Lexi returns to Waterloo, where a crisis of her own, coupled with the knowledge of this secret, serves as the catalyst for her realization that, unlike her mother, she must create her own destiny.

Watermelon Syrup is a classic bildungsroman: the tale of a naive young woman at the crossroads of a traditional, restrictive world and a modern one with its freedom, risks, and responsibilities.

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From the Publisher

Lexi, a young Mennonite woman from Saskatchewan, comes to work as housekeeper and nanny for a doctor’s family in Waterloo, Ontario, during the Depression. Dr. Gerald Oliver is a handsome philanderer who lives with his neurotic and alcoholic wife, Cammy, and their two children. Lexi soon adapts to modern conveniences, happily wears Cam...

Annie Jacobsen was born in Luseland, Saskatchewan, to a Mennonite mother and Lutheran father. In addition to Watermelon Syrup, she is the author of short stories, poetry, and an unpublished novel. In the later years of her life she lived in Toronto with her two children, taught writing workshops, and practised as a Jungian psychothera...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:280 pages, 9 × 6.03 × 0.7 inPublished:September 10, 2007Publisher:Wilfrid Laurier University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1554580056

ISBN - 13:9781554580057

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from A surprisingly good read This is one of the many excellent books being written by a community of Canadian Mennonite writers. That it is based on the life of the author makes it an interesting slice of Canadian history. The main character, Lexie, is sent out into a secular world she doesn't understand and has to find her place in it. She does eventually find her way but pays a terrible price for it. The book shows the damage that religious intolerance does, and the courage that it takes to overcome it.
Date published: 2008-05-21

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Editorial Reviews

“Within a few pages I found myself swept into Lexi’s life, and until the novel’s close, I never left her side, so attached that I too experienced the pain and glory of the new world she entered as a young woman hired as some ‘home help.’ When she/we had to return to the family farm, I thought my heart would break—but I kept on reading and she/we survived the grief of loss and emerged whole and strong. Watermelon Syrup is a wonderful novel of leaving, of discovery, of finding one’s true self and of learning about love. Annie Jacobsen was a wise and beautiful woman and she has left us a wise and beautiful book.” - Isabel Huggan, award-winning author of Belonging: Home Away from Home