The Canary Room: A Novel

Edwin F. Casebeer and Linda L. Casebeer
Serealties Press (2014)
ISBN: 9781494423766
Reviewed by Daryn Watson for Reader Views (10/14)

Article first published as Book Review: ‘The Canary Room’ by Edwin F. Casebeer & Linda L. Casebeer  on Blogcritics.

“The Canary Room: A Novel” written by Edwin F. and Linda L Casebeer is focused on the life of 12-year-old Herman Auerbach living in the Pacific Northwest. His life is turned upside down as he is placed into foster care near the end of World War II. His parents are separated with his mother in Georgia and his father away working for weeks on end. 

Herman is a survivor of polio from earlier on in his childhood, which has primarily affected his left arm. He gets bullied at school by other boys, one of whom is from the first foster family he was placed. The unfamiliarity of living with strangers and other relatives causes Herman to adapt to different household rules. A continuous dialogue runs in his head, comparing his mother to his foster mothers, etc. 

The story is descriptive with the language and newspaper headlines of the day which report the war efforts against the Nazis Japanese. There are obvious racial undertones against the Japanese which is openly expressed by both adults and children.

I found “The Canary Room” a bit confusing in the beginning with the three types of fonts used throughout the book. Some of the font is in italics, some with normal script and some with bold script (which I concluded reflects the thoughts and dialogue within Herman’s mind as he interacts with others). I think it would have been helpful to have a description of what the fonts are for in order for the reader to be more focused on the storyline.  Another thing I would have liked to see is to have titles for each chapter instead of having chapters one to twenty listed. I think this would have given a better flow for the reader. 

Overall I think “The Canary Room: A Novel” by Edwin F. Casebeer and Linda L. Casebeer is a decent time piece written during the World War II era which is worth reading. I did have some trouble with the writing style and formatting and think that by changing the font to make it more consistent, the book would flow better for the reader to be able to follow with less effort.

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