Cassie Stocks won the Stephen Leacock Medal for humour with Dance, Gladys, Dance in 2013. I wish I had read it sooner. The story is a roller coaster of a read that will have you laughing on one page, only to cry on the next. Written in the first person, Frieda Zweig tells her life story to this point. It's not a happy story. From leaving home with a semi-successful rock band to a ill-advised affair with her art professor and dropping out of school to taking up with man whose fortune comes from The Wanton Warehouse, a sex toy chain of stores. Yes, Cassie has had to take a job as a clerk in the Warehouse and ends up in the states with Norman March, the owner. Norman turns out to be an all right guy but he wants Cassie to go back to her painting, to being an artist. She is blocked and runs back to Winnipeg to become "normal." It doesn't go well. She is enticed to move into a rooming house with a male octogenarian and her room is haunted by Gladys, the ghost of the title. Gladys has her own tragic story which she reveals to Frieda little by little. Frieda has a part in this and Gladys has recruited her to try and right some ancient injustices. The humour is everywhere but Dance, Gladys, Dance has some things to say about important issues like human rights, like the way the arts are under-rated, like the difficulty of making your way in a "normal" adult way. Don't miss Dance, Gladys, Dance.
Cassie Stocks will be reading at Lloydminster's Arts Without Borders in June. I plan on getting my ticket as soon as they go on sale. I want to meet the person who created Frieda, Gladys and all the other characters of Dance, Gladys, Dance.
I am an avid reader and like to share some of my "finds" with others.