Where I Belong by Alan DoyleWhere I Belong by Alan Doyle

Where I Belong

byAlan Doyle

Hardcover | January 11, 2017

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From the lead singer of the band Great Big Sea comes a lyrical and captivating musical memoir about growing up in the tiny fishing village of Petty Harbour, Newfoundland, and then taking to the world stage.
     Singer-songwriter and front man of the great Canadian band Great Big Sea, Alan Doyle is also a lyrical storyteller and a creative force. In Where I Belong, Alan paints a vivid, raucous and heartwarming portrait of a curious young lad born into the small coastal fishing community of Petty Harbour, Newfoundland, and destined to become a renowned musician who carried the musical tradition of generations before him and brought his signature sound to the world. He tells of a childhood surrounded by larger-than-life characters who made an indelible impression on his music and work; of his first job on the wharf cutting out cod tongues for fishermen; of growing up in a family of five in a two-bedroom house with a beef-bucket as a toilet, yet lacking nothing; of learning at his father's knee how to sing the story of a song and learning from his mother how to simply "be good"; and finally, of how everything he ever learned as a kid prepared him for that pivotal moment when he became part of Great Big Sea and sailed away on what would be the greatest musical adventure of his life.
     Filled with the lore and traditions of the East Coast and told in a voice that is at once captivating and refreshingly candid, this is a narrative journey about small-town life, curiosity and creative fulfillment, and finally, about leaving everything you know behind only to learn that no matter where you go, home will always be with you.
ALAN DOYLE is a Canadian musician and actor, best known as a lead singer in the Canadian folk-rock band Great Big Sea. In 2012, Doyle released his first solo album, Boy on Bridge, which made the top twenty on the Canadian Albums chart. Alan lives in St. John's, Newfoundland. Visit him at alandoyle.ca.
Title:Where I BelongFormat:HardcoverProduct dimensions:336 pages, 9.26 × 6.34 × 1.06 inShipping dimensions:9.26 × 6.34 × 1.06 inPublished:January 11, 2017Language:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385680368

ISBN - 13:9780385680363


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Not only for fans!!! Doyle writes an incredible portrait of life in a small fishing village on the coast of Newfoundland. The cast of characters he introduces is delightful, colourful and difficult to forget. While his rise to fame with GBS is a part of the book, Doyle's first preoccupation is first and foremost to establish that he is still a Doyle from Petty Harbour and that this is who he always will be.
Date published: 2017-05-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Lover this Book Growing up in small town NL, this book brought back so many memories! It was such a fun, enteraining read and i could not put it down!
Date published: 2017-03-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A great read! #plumreview Alan Doyle has written a very readable book about his growing up in Newfoundland, his musical roots, and his attachment to his culture. He really made me feel what it is to be a Newfie. Not only is Alan Doyle a great musician, he has the makings of a great writer. I hope he writes another book.
Date published: 2017-03-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Such a good read! I first bought this book just wanting to read it because I love NFLD and Great Big Sea! I'm so happy I got the book! It was such a good read! It was really interesting seeing a glimpse into Alan Doyle's life and hear him talk about all the local doing's of NFLD.
Date published: 2016-12-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A little hidden treasure I gave this book to my wife a couple of years ago for Christmas because she was a big fan of GBS. She thought I should read it, so I picked it up just a couple of weeks ago and can hardly put it down. It's not a deep book, but it's honest if nothing else. It's one of the few books that I've read recently that have actually made me LOL. Very descriptive of Newfoundland and Petty Harbour. Ver.y enjoyable. I'd highly recommend it.
Date published: 2016-01-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Big Sea Growing up in any small town can be interesting but growing up in a fishing village in Newfoundland is very unique. Alan has written a wonderfully telling memoir of his early life in a fishing village outside of St. John’s Newfoundland. He certainly must have been very athletic if he followed the advice of his elders after every time they wanted to get rid of him or his siblings telling them to run up and down the hill. There are many lovely and hilarious anecdotes in the stories of his life as a Dog from Petty Harbour. A very enjoyable read.
Date published: 2015-09-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Read Excellent read. Heartwarming. You are taken straight to Petty Harbour. Alan's love or his beloved Newdoundland is contageous!
Date published: 2015-07-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Where i belong _ wonderful Cant wait for part 2 - GBS. Thanks fOr wRiting an entertaining and honest story of a true canadian childhood.
Date published: 2015-07-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Where I Belong As I was a Townie I know very very little about the fishing in the smaller communities. I found the information very interesting. I could feel the love Allan had for his family and for Newfoundland.
Date published: 2015-07-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Charming as a Newfoundland small town. What made this book so much more enjoyable for me, I'd only been two, or three chapters into Alan Doyle Where I Belong, when I went to see Mr. Doyle perform, live, at Brock University. Mr. Doyle, in concert at the Sullivan Theater, which is a very small venue, made me feel so much more in touch with the book when I got back to reading it. Many of the songs he sang that evening, were like the chapters in his book, only set to music. In an uncomplicated, down to earth prose, Alan Doyle told his story of growing up in small town Newfoundland, Petty Harbour. Alan Doyle's tales walked me down memory lane growing up in small town Ontaraio, Port Credit, where like Petty Harbour, the Credit River put the Protestants on the east side of the river, and the Catholics on the west side. All through Alan Doyle's narrative, he'd bring me back to my own feelings and emotions; the things I loved as a child, the things I hated, the things I was afraid of too -- Jesus suffering on cross at the front of the church, and the depiction of suffering saints on the stain glass windows, nice teachers, mean teachers, the power of friendship...friendships lost, friendships missed, the fear of growing up and the fear of having no fear. I read a lot of books in a year. Many of the books I read, I donate back to my local library for the spring book sale. But, there are a few special books I keep to put in my personal bookcase in my home; books written by Canadian authors I love, Michael Ondaatje, Miriam Toews, Guy Vanderhaeghe, Linden MacIntyre, Margaret Attwood, Elizabeth Hay, and more. Alan Doyle Where I Belong, is a keeper. It will be placed in my bookcase, and I'll read it again. Alan Doyle has always had a remarkable way of putting his life to music and in song, and now for our enjoyment, he has sat down, pen in hand, and written his story in a book; a book we can hold in our hands...take Alan to bed with us. I loved this book. Alan Doyle takes us lovingly, and humourously back to simpler times.
Date published: 2015-02-16
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Great Story Loved Alans story about growning up in Petty Harbour. Wondering what the insignia is that he is wearing on his neck on the cover and also on the page starting Part 1.
Date published: 2015-02-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A++++ ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT! Worth every penny...I hope to read more from Alan Doyle~As a NL'er myself it brought back so many memories~
Date published: 2015-01-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Belonging This is a great story and there is so much more to tell. I can hardly wait to hear Alan tell the next.
Date published: 2015-01-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Opinion of One Left-Coaster. I was 2 sentences into the epilogue before I realized it was over and I didn't want it to be. My next thought was "Makes sense to end it there though." As someone who grew up on the other coast but also in a small, primary-industry town (logging in my case) it was very easy to relate to. I loved it.
Date published: 2014-12-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Intense and Rich Passion for His Home Town Part of the pleasure of reading this book was that I could hear Doyle's voice in my head as I encountered such interesting and memorable characters as tough as rock (and sometimes thick as rock) Frank whose no-nonsense and no-B.S. approach to life and work was both inspiring and disturbing. Another part of the fun was the open and honest nature by which he shares both the triumphs and mishaps of growing up in, what his grandfather believed, was a unique country that sat right beside Canada. In many ways this book struck a chord in me and the small Northern Ontario mining town that I grew up in. Petty Harbour, in this way, plays the role of many a small town; and some of its cast of became some of the characters from my old small and beloved town. Doyle makes the experience even richer by including a step by step tutorial on cutting out cod tongues or his mother's delightful home-made bread ("Alan, honey, I don't know how to make a loaf of bread. I only knows how to make eight.") The book is filled with an intense and rich passion for Doyle's home town and its people that merges with his creativity, curiosity and thirst to explore the world beyond. I really did capture an image of that boy on the bridge, a young man not simply caught between the divided Catholic and Protestant sides of his remote fishing village, but realizing the warmth and familiarity of home while searching for the entire world, that "great big sea" that existed just beyond the town. It didn't feel like I had read this book. It felt more like I was standing around in a kitchen, perhaps even in Petty Harbour, listening to Alan holding court and sharing incredibly stories with a group of home town friends and Mainlanders alike, all while the laughter, hockey-laced arguments and traditional folk music streamed in the background from the adjoining rooms.
Date published: 2014-10-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from It'll make you wish you'd grown up in Petty Harbour, too Alan Doyle is a born storyteller, regardless of the medium he's using. Loved by many as part of the band Great Big Sea, a respected solo artist, and actor ... there seems to be no creative endeavor he can't excel at. In 'Where I Belong', Doyle turns his natural born gift of the gab to his beloved tropical isle of Newfoundland, and specifically the tiny town of Petty Harbour. His stories of growing up in a special corner of Canada and how it has shaped him as an artist and a man are a delight to read. Can't wait for the next volume.
Date published: 2014-10-15

Editorial Reviews

Named one of the Book Guys’ (CTV Ottawa) Best Reads of the Season   “The rollicking new book is Doyle’s portrait of his youth in the Newfoundland fishing village of Petty Harbour. Forget your early days as a Starbucks barista: his first job was cutting out cod tongues down on the wharf, just one of the places where he soaked up the culture and music that would later shape his hit band.” —Georgia Straight   “Doyle’s recently published memoir is so packed with colourful characters and stories, it’s almost hard to believe they all come from real life. . . . Doyle’s storytelling is so rich. . . . Written in a warm, chatty tone, with a sprinkling of illustrations, Where I Belong invites the reader to experience a Newfoundland that many ‘Mainlanders’ may not know.” —Guelph Mercury   “A heartwarming read. . . . Doyle’s rollicking work shares his childhood from birth to his teens in the fishing village of Petty Harbour. . . . readers will be engaged by vignettes of Doyle’s life in a small house on rocky Skinner’s Hill in Petty Harbour.” —Rocky Mountain Outlook (Canmore)   “While Alan Doyle writes an unflinching account of his boyhood. . . . practical things can be learned from reading Where I Belong: how to play certain guitar chords; how to bake eight loaves of bread; how to cut out tongues.” —The Packet (Newfoundland)   “A poignant and often comical memoir of growing up in Petty Harbour.” —The Telegram (St. John’s)“[A] rough-hewn saga growing up poor but happy on the Rock. . . . You’ll love the skillful way Doyle teases his involvement with the band into the narrative. Yes, you’ll hear the whole wonderful story of how ‘Ordinary Day’ was created and, much as you may love that song now, you’ll love it even more with the added knowledge. But even better is the way you see Doyle slowly but inevitably following the invisible flight path that would take him to the career he was always meant to have.” —Toronto Star“Funny, tender and practically glowing with rose-coloured nostalgia, Doyle’s childhood tale comes across as a textbook example of doing-the-best-with-what-you-have and the amiable, resourceful nature of Newfoundland’s inshore fishing communities . . .  a community that seemed to be the last vestige of another world.” —Calgary Herald “Alternately laugh-out-loud funny, tearfully nostalgic, and stunningly beautiful, the stories in Where I Belong have nothing to do with the famous and everything to do with the legendary. . . . With Where I Belong Alan has crafted a coming-of-age story that reads almost like a male version of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn in its Irish sensibility, episodic narrative, and rapturously detailed universe small in physical scale but infinite in color and character. . . . The beating heart of life itself runs through this book.” —Huffington Post“Warm and witty.” —The Halifax Chronicle-Herald“An engaging account of a colourful childhood. . . . [A] funny and fascinating read, written in a style that captures the eccentricities of Newfoundland culture.” —Ottawa Citizen “Doyle reaches back into his childhood, reminiscing with plenty of humour and self-deprecation and creating a poignant portrait of small-town Newfoundland. . . . His stories are rich and colourful.” —The Telegram (St. John’s)"Doyle reaches back into his childhood, reminiscing with plenty of humour and self-deprecation and creating a poignant portrait of small-town Newfoundland. . . . His stories are rich and colourful.” —The Telegram (St. John’s)"Where I Belong chronicles Doyle's childhood and remarkable rise with the lyrical and candid storytelling fans know and love from his music.” —CBC Books“It reads like the man himself—charming and funny, down to earth, eager to entertain and naturally entertaining. Doyle weaves stories of his formative years into a tapestry of great adventure, lessons learned, principals instilled and loads of laughs. You’ll discover delightful characters amidst colourful settings and not one mention of destiny. No, Alan attributes his many achievements to something else entirely . . . ” —Atlantic Business Magazine“A rolling, jaunty, whiskey-laced ballad, an ode, if you will, that will have you thirsting for more. When I turned the last page, I honestly felt sad. I didn’t want it to end.” —Jann Arden“Alan Doyle, musician and raconteur, can now add author to his list of accomplishments. He has an undeniably compelling voice in this book about his early life in Petty Harbour. Funny, wise, and self-deprecating, this book is hard to put down. Alan is a truly great storyteller and his life in a small Newfoundland fishing village is a story dying to be told.” —Jim Cuddy, of Blue Rodeo“To many people, Petty Harbour’s geographic isolation, bleak surroundings, and limited economic opportunities would have placed limits on their lives, limits from which they would have never recovered. To my friend Alan Doyle, they were just a challenge to overcome, and this strange and eccentric village would offer a well of experience, enough to fuel a lifetime of creativity. Newfoundland has changed immensely in the past decades, but Petty Harbour held onto its past for much longer than most places, and Alan was lucky enough to remember how wonderful it could be.” —Bob Hallett, of Great Big Sea“If you’re lucky enough to have spent any time with Alan, then you may have heard one or two of these stories before. If you haven’t, this book is the next best thing.” —Ed Robertson, of Barenaked Ladies“There are great big smiles to be found on nearly every page. A beautiful memoir of heart and place.” —Linwood Barclay, author of A Tap on the Window “Doyle is exuberant, irreverent, hilariously funny and a heart-on-the-sleeve Newfoundlander. As a writer, he's all that and a bag of chips . . . . Intimate, saucy and note-perfect. In his own words: Deadly." —Michael Crummey, author of Galore “Excellent adventure. I feel like I’ve lived another’s life.” —Russell Crowe "Where does Alan’s sound come from? The Catholic side of Petty Harbour, ball hockey behind O’Brien’s Fish Plant, Uncle Ronnie’s band.  He dreamed of being goalie for the Montreal Canadiens (I dreamed of being a rock star).  He lives everything he does. That sound is here in his book.” —Ken Dryden“As Great Big Sea’s frontman, Alan Doyle is exuberant, irreverent, hilariously funny and a heart-on-the-sleeve Newfoundlander. As a writer, he’s all that and a bag of chips. Doyle’s description of growing up on the hills and wharves of old world Petty Harbour is intimate, saucy and note-perfect. In his own words: Deadly.” —Michael Crummey, author of Galore "A gentle, honest and often hilarious account of life in small-town Newfoundland. Stratocasters, goalie pads, skin mags and cutting tongues, Alan’s charming and sometimes uproarious tale has it all.” —Edward Riche, author of Rare Birds“Doyle [is] a master storyteller in a land rich in that resource. Where I Belong brought back some amazing memories of growing up in a small fishing community and what was to be life outside our hometown. From the first time I laid eyes on him, Alan’s been that guy, the funny, charming dude cursed with charisma, with the talent to back it up. This book gives great insight into that super-talented, creative and insightful mind of a true entertainer.” —Perry Chafe, co-creator/writer of Republic of Doyle“Alan Doyle the writer, like Alan Doyle the person, is charming, funny, a natural storyteller who can be sweet without sliding into sentimentality, who can be honest without tumbling into darkness. The book breezes along the path that leads to Great Big Sea, and couldn’t feel more authentic. If you know the place, you know these fantastic characters are real.” —Stephen Brunt, author of Gretzky’s Tears: Hockey, Canada and the Day Everything Changed“In Where I Belong, Alan uses his natural ‘master storyteller superpower’ to draw you in as a reader in much the same way he does while holding court in the pub or in his own kitchen. This book shines a light on a very particular place and time in Newfoundland’s history, as seen through the eyes of one of the province’s greatest talents.” —Allan Hawco, co-creator/star of Republic of Doyle