A mostly joyous memoir of one Canadian’s life.
Debut author Beaudoin was born in 1958 in Ottawa, Ontario, and in this remembrance, he traces his wandering spirit back to age 4 or 5, when he received a shiny new bicycle. It was “the first tool that allowed me to begin my lifelong adventures,” he writes. During his rambunctious teenage years, he spent time in the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets; he followed this with farm work and a job as an airplane mechanic. In 1975, he met a woman named Kim, and they married in 1980. By this time, Beaudoin had a job in the currency division of the Bank of Canada, repairing machinery. In time, he fulfilled his dream to fly planes, obtaining his single-engine pilot’s license. Later, when he became discontented with his bank work, he quit and became a truck driver. This led to one of his greatest successes—the formation of his own transport company. Still, he kept trying new things: He became a volunteer firefighter; he and Kim opened an internet-provider company; and together with neighbors, they home-schooled their two daughters. Overall, a healthy mix of pride and self-deprecating humor permeates these pages. For example, Beaudoin recounts his shock and fear when his wife enthusiastically accepted his solution for birth control: “I kinda thought when I mentioned the word vasectomy she would stand firm and say no. The answer was a resounding ‘YES.’ ” He also refers often to the lyrics of the 1984 Bryan Adams song “Summer of ’69,” which serves as an organizing structure for the work. He offers breezy, conversational prose throughout, and although it tends to be a glass-half-full narrative, he does offer somber moments as well. For instance, when Beaudoin was 11 and his parents were separated, he once rejected his father’s offer to go for a ride, and a few days later, his dad committed suicide. Fifty years later, he writes, “Sometimes I wonder if I had anything to do with his suicide…I just wonder if it all was too much for him, and my running away may have caused him so much pain…I just wonder…I wonder.”
An engaging, quick read from a man who seems to always be up for a new adventure.