The Greatest Review

While leaving a review is one of the best ways to support an author, the greatest reviews I have ever received are in the form of silence….silence from one person – my Mémère [a Québécois term for Grandmother].

For a long time, I didn’t recognize this silence as reviews. In fact, the silence had me worried despite her frequent question of “When is your next book coming out?” and her constant refusal to let me gift her a copy in the format of her choice because she wanted to buy it herself.

Mémère passed recently. She had been constantly ill since the passing of Pépère [a Québécois term for Grandfather] in December 2021. They had been married for 44 years. Her grief was a very potent, powerful, and present thing. In many ways, her passing was a blessing.

A few days ago, we had a joint memorial service for them. Several of the stories were about Mémère in regards to her love of the written word and her intensity for proper sentence structure, grammar, research, and the like. She worked for a newspaper for a large part of her working life in various roles but predominately as an Editor. The newspaper is how she met Pépère – he was a sport writer. Mémère was an amazing Editor. She found immense joy in finding errors and then mentioning them at every possible moment. Truly, errors brought out this very childlike whimsical joy in her then she’d use the errors to unleash ‘terror’ upon their “owners” with a similar amount of unsettling whimsical joy.

One of my Dad’s stories was how he had written and publish several articles – all of which had been reviewed and edited prior to publishing – but, without fail, a few days after publication, he’d receive an email from Mémère with a list of all of the errors she found in the articles. My Uncle shared a similar story and how he found such amusing as he is a recently retired English teacher. Both of them are very skilled writers and yet, Mémère had zero qualms about letting them know what they had done wrong.

It dawned on me that Mémère never unleashed her Editorial wrath upon my books like she had with everyone else’s writings. She did once upon several poems 21 years ago – at my behest – but only found some very minor issues. Since those poems, only silence.

The absence of Mémère’s legendary Editorial wrath, her silence, is truly the greatest review any of my books have ever received.


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