By Cassie MacDonell
Local Journalism Initiative
‘Hear the screams of a grown man about to be driven into a deep lake by his very own daughter!,’ reads the description of John LeBaron’s new book, It Was Only a Movie.
This essay, one of many in It Was Only a Movie, depicts LeBaron’s father and sister, the latter who was driving a car for the first time. The essay title? Drivers Ed: The Nuclear Option. “The book is meant to be primarily humorous. It’s a collection of essays, many of which are reflections on my experience growing up in the Eastern Townships,” said LeBaron. LeBaron grew up in Sherbrooke, where he often visited North Hatley, the town in which he resides now. He also has a residence in Acton, Massachusetts.
The book has five parts, LeBaron explained, with around five or six essays within each part. Coming of Age in the Anglo Bubble, part one, is a series of stories from LeBaron’s childhood and teen years. Next, Becoming a Licensed Francophony is about LeBaron’s struggles as he attempts to learn French in adulthood. “No easy task, but one does the best one can,” he said.
Innocence Abroad focuses around his travel experiences, while Wonderful Day in the Neighbourhood revolves closer to home and discusses LeBaron’s experiences in the Eastern Townships. Finally, Lore and Odour features different essays, such as a review of Norman Webster’s book, Newspapering.
LeBaron added that readers should be prepared for one particular character. “Your readership may be offended by this, but I beg them not to be” he said, “about a fictional aunt whom I call Auntie Knockers.”
Auntie Knockers is a combination of different characters that have crossed LeBaron’s life path. “This is a term that would have been used by pre-adolescent and adolescent boys of that era and probably this era, too, in reference to an aunt that was especially hefty above the waist,” said LeBaron. “She appears, I think, in four different stories, and those stories are pure nonsense. They’re meant to be pure nonsense, and I hope the readers find them fun.” Comedy is a strong theme in It Was Only a Movie. “I guess if you were to categorize the book with one word only, it would be humour,” he said.
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