I’ve avoided Adventures in Solitude: What Not to Wear to a Nude Potluck and Other Stories from Desolation Sound for the last four years. I’d see it everywhere in B.C.— stacked in bookstores, stocked on the ferries. The sub-title What Not to Wear to a Nude Potluck seemed designed to make you buy the book, right? From the disheveled pictures of the author on the cover, I thought it was a gonzo story about getting drunk in Desolation Sound. I was partially right, and I loved the book when I finally read it!
Book Review: Adventures in Solitude by Grant Lawrence
Grant Laurence is an excellent storyteller, with skills honed from years of doing a talk show on CBC Radio. He is witty and self-deprecating. He has a way with sentences that adds just the right adjectives to paint a vivid picture in your mind.
Adventures in Solitude: What Not to Wear to a Nude Potluck and Other Stories from Desolation Sound is the story of life in the 70s, 80s, and 90s in the Okeover Inlet area of Desolation Sound. This is a contemporary Curve of Time. Grant weaves together the history of the area and some of the characters of the past. Then he adds the contemporary characters that formed Grant’s life growing up and spending summers in Okeover Inlet.
Grant’s story of being forced to go to Desolation Sound every summer sounds like many experiences from our youth where we were piled into the car and driven to a place we did not necessarily want to go, but dad did, and mom dutifully followed. Grant recounts how he learned to understand the beauty of Desolation Sound and how, after leaving and avoiding the area for 12 years, he returned as an adult with a new appreciation. He sees the place with a different eye and uses Desolation Sound as his daily inspiration.
It is fun to read Grant recount stories about places you may have visited in this area or want to visit in the future. This book will encourage you to visit Desolation Sound again, with many of the characters and stories in mind.
The chapter on the nude potluck, set in the 70s, should have you rolling in laughter. It adds the background to the stories we have all heard about the nude hippies that used to live in Galley Bay. Think Ward and June Cleever, with their family, visiting a purple-smoke filled nude party and orgy and you have the idea. Great fun.
—Reviewed by Mark Bunzel
You can order Adventures in Solitude: What Not to Wear to a Nude Potluck and Other Stories from Desolation Sound in the Waggoner Store. $26.95