What to read, what to watch….

I’m a fan of Ken Loach. If you want to understand working class family life, how single mothers were treated in the 60s, and the ever present forms of authority and policing of women, and see London before the swinging 60s, you must watch Loach’s first film, Cathy Come Home.  You can watch it on Youtube, anytime. cathyWhile I’m talking about what to watch, the public library lends The State I’m In.  This is a must-see for anyone who lived on the serious left thru the 70s and 80s. Christian Petzold is one of my favourite filmmakers, and his film will leave you shaken —  state-im-inThe library also has a another film about runaways — with lofty ideals. It’s called Workers for the Good Lord, and I recommend it.workers-lordWhat I would not rush to read are two books written by local writers.  Pauline Dakin, a former CBC health reporter, has had a lot of media interviews about her first book, Run, Hide, Repeat.  dakin  Not to give too much away, but in a breezy style, Dakin tells the very surreal story of her own early years fanning out to   adulthood.  Dakin’s mother and her mother’s boyfriend told Dakin and her younger brother that the mafia or some organized criminals were after them. As a result,  they had to move across the Canada, living day to day in different towns and provinces  more or less in hiding –to escape.  Turns out Dakin believed her mother and step-father’s story  long after growing up, going to university and even marrying.  Dakin’s life was one of fear and anger but also deep devotion to her mother.  Ultimately her mother (like her step-father) became a United Church Minister near Halifax and (spoiler alert) still believed  the family’s past was for real.  I found it a bit hard to believe that Dakin, who does investigative journalism, could believe the story and live the life created for her for more than 20 years…

Another book I would not rush  to read is journalist first-degreeKayla Hounsell’s new book First Degree.  This book is about the trial of Dalhousie medical student Will Sandeson, who was convicted of murdering Taylor Samson, also a Dal student.  Clearly, the murder had a lot to do with selling drugs, and tens of thousands of dollars.   The crown theorized that Sandeson  needed money to pay off about $80,000 in debts from university plus a term at the Saba medical school in the West Indies.  He went to the Saba medical school in a bid to up his game and gain acceptance into to medical school at Dal.  He was accepted at Dal, but two weeks before classes were to begin in 2015, he killed and possibly dismembered Samson, whose body has never been found.  While the book is competent in that it reports much from the trial transcripts, it asks and attempts to answer no questions.  For instance Halifax police took Sandeson in for questioning for more than 12 hours — before charging him and they never suggested he get a lawyer.  Sandeson did not ask for one either — but after all the crime shows we  watch on Netflix, isn’t that the first thing anyone does when facing a charge of murder or any serious charge?  Hounsell never looked at that issue or injustice at all.  At the start of the book she dedicates it to victim’s family.  She fundamentally believed the crown’s case from the get-go.  Hounsell  never looked into psychopaths, or psychopathic behaviour.  I would recommend this book psychoif you’d like to know more about psychopaths.  Yet who –on the verge of having a wonderful and lucrative career for life –would ditch it all suddenly without a second thought?  The book is pedestrian and straight forward — in the wrong kind of way.  No   questions are answered — such as why did Sandeson from a good, loving family do this? Did he in fact do it? Did he have a connection to organised crime and that is why Sandeson never took the stand in his own defence? And his defence seemed tepid in that I gather only his (ex) girlfriend testified on his behalf.  I wonder. Sandeson got life in prison by the way — Murder One. 



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