With her multiple-award-winning, bestselling, and critically acclaimed novel The Outlander, Gil Adamson established herself as one of North America's preeminent fiction writers. But ten years before The Outlander Adamson published another book of fiction with a small press, and writers, readers, and critics immediately sat up and took note. With this new updated edition, Adamson’s fascinating portrait of a young woman’s coming of age is ready for readers once again. Help Me, Jacques Cousteau presents the life and times of Hazel, who is born into an extraordinary family alongside her brother Andrew. Hazel’s experiences, at once odd and completely believable, involve a diverse cast of family members who share only one thing: a penchant for eccentric behavior. In portraying a strange, compelling, dysfunctional family, Adamson demonstrates her powerful prose style, uniquely combining a scientist’s loving attention to detail, a comic’s unerring delivery, and a poet’s sublime ear.
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The offspring of a family that has been in Canada for eight generations, Gil Adamson was the first baby born in North York, Ontario in 1961, an accident of birth which might partly explain her wary and perceptive take on the hidden eccentricities of suburban life. On graduation in 1985, she joined Coach House Press as publicist and editorial assistant, and in 1987 became publishing assistant at CBC Radio Guide.From School Library Journal:
Grade 9 Up Hazel and her brother, Andrew, belong to a family of eccentrics. Their dad, North, is constantly rewiring the house and studying the weather. Their mother just up and leaves them one day. One uncle collects only white animals, while another is constantly changing girlfriends. The rest of the family shows up on a whim from time to time, and even the neighbors, whom Hazel enjoys spying on, are a little odd. As Hazel narrates her life beginning from a young age, following the birth of her brother, her adolescence, and her young adulthood, readers get to know the quirky characters who make up her world. With subtle humor and lyrical, at times almost poetic, writing (We hurry along the road in the snow, looking like an assortment of bonbons in frilly wrappings), Adamson weaves a story that will give readers comfort in knowing their families aren't the only ones with their fair share of kookiness. Gina Bowling, South Gibson County High School, Medina, TN
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