I grew up in a small town in Ontario and this book was that much funnier for it, because it was bang on! But this is a hilarious book that anyone who likes to laugh should read... you will laugh out loud!
Affectionately combining both the idyllic and ironic, Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town is Stephen Leacock’s most beloved book. Set in fictional Mariposa, an Ontario town on the shore of Lake Wissanotti, these sketches present a remarkable range of characters: some irritating, some exasperating, some foolhardy, but all endearing. Painted with the skilful brushstrokes of a great comic artist, the delightful inhabitants of Mariposa represent the people of small towns everywhere.
As fresh, funny, and insightful today as when it was first published in 1912, Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town is Stephen Leacock at his best – colourful, imaginative, and thoroughly entertaining.Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town - eBook
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New Canadian Library
McClelland & Stewart
Stephen Leacock, Jack Hodgins
What a delightful book, perfect for the upcoming season. Just lovely! In a way, it reminded me of the recently read Winesburg, Ohio. Oh, not the endearing characters. No, they were totally different from the manic depressives that peopled the Sherwood Anderson book. But I was reminded by the fact that the town is the real star here; the little town of Mariposa, Ontario where the residents vacillate from complete naiveté and innocence to apparent sophistication. Written at about the same time as Winesburg, Ohio, (1912 and 1919 respectively) both books present their towns as they proceed with some trepidation into the new century. Why is it, when we look back at different times in history, we do so with some nostalgia and longing? Maybe I'm alone in this but those simpler times, when viewed from afar, appeal to our sense of what's right with the world. Filled with humor I couldn't help but fall in love with these delightful, quirky people whose love for their little town is so apparent. Take Dean Drone of the Church of England Church, on the building of a new church: "The Dean threw himself into the work. With his coat off and his white shirt sleeves conspicuous among the gang that were working at the foundations, he set his hand to the shovel, , himself guided the road-scraper, urging on the horses, cheering and encouraging the men, till they begged him to desist. He mingled with the stone masons, advising, helping and giving counsel, till they pleaded with him to rest. He was among the carpenters, sawing, hammering, enquiring, suggesting, till they besought him to lay off. And he was night and day with the architect's assistants, drawing, planning, revising, till the architect told him to cut it out. So great was his activity, that I doubt whether the new church would ever have been finished, had not the wardens and the vestry men insisted that Mr. Drone must take a holiday, and sent him on the Mackinaw trip up the lakes---the only foreign travel of the Dean's life." (Page 61) So if you're looking for a delightful respite from the stress that's sure to come in the next few weeks, sit down with Stephen Leacock and the gentle people of Mariposa, Ontario. They are sure to lift your spirits.
This was pure unadulterated satirical fun. The title tells you what to expect. The collection of vignettes is full of small town characters that could be found anywhere in America, and apparently in Canada, at any time from the late 19th century right up to the present time. You might have to look harder for them these days, but I know they are still out there, seeing the world from their front porches and bar stools rather than through the lenses of the Big Guys in the City. Every ordinary little episode is laced with cleverness and affectionate humor. My favorite by far was the disastrous (but routine) sinking of the excursion steamer on Lake Wissanoti, with about half the town aboard. Picture the Mariposa Belle settling comfortably to the bottom of the six-foot deep lake, and its passengers handily snatching their would-be rescuers from unseaworthy rowboats and dinghies in "one of the smartest pieces of rescue work ever seen on the lake." You might think of Mark Twain, or Garrison Keillor, while reading this.
Stephen Leacock's Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town is the first book I have obtained from the Project Gutenberg's collection. Although Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town was written almost one hundred years ago, what intrigued me the most was how little has changed in the past century. I found The Whirlwind Campaign in Mariposa uncannily similar to the way big charity fund raising campaigns are organized today. Vast amounts of money spent on committees and congratulatory dinners which tend to lose focus of the real reason the money is being raised. The Candidacy of Mr. Smith was very reminiscent of the political campaigns of our day, media manipulation, character assassination and backroom strategizing. The only difference is now we have more parties in which to divide our votes and our country. My favourite story is The Marine Excursions of the Knight of Pythias. The simple ingenuity of Mr. Smith's leadership and the perseverance of the town's people really showed that whether you live in a small town in rural Ontario or in one of the bigger cities, the most important aspect is community. All in all, Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town is an excellent slice of Canadiana where Stephen Leacock's legendary wit shines through with quite a few lessons tucked in. An Enjoyable read.
Published in 1912, the sketches are a Canadian Classic. An example that a tragedy or a comedy is dependant on the attitude of the audience. Everyone would have liked to live in Mariposa, but we increasingly do not get the chance. Both Twain and Leacock are describing towns of their youth, so the audience is somewhat insulated from the experiences described. Useful comic patina is laid on but the pain still apparent . After all that analysis, this is fun to read, and I have twice.
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