Title: From the Corner Table
Author: Peter Miller
Publisher: Repository Press
From the Corner Table tells tales from a different time.
As kids we figured we knew all the grownups in our lives pretty well or at any rate as well as we needed to, at the time.
When they’re gone we realize that we didn’t actually know them at all; they were much more than we naively thought. We realize that we should have asked them questions about their lives, what the world was like before we came along and that we wish we had taken the time to ask their views on the world and transform them from a caricature into a real, honest to goodness person that had a whole world going on that didn’t involve their visits south to see you.
I don’t know about all of you but for me one of those people was my uncle, Peter Miller.
From the Corner Table is a collection of works by the late Peter Miller, a columnist and editor in northern B.C. Between 1965 and 1994 Miller explored many themes including tourism, tipping etiquette, the rise in marijuana and politics.
After his death Miller’s friends and colleagues collected their favourite writings which became the basis of this book. My favourite of which are the “This Town” pieces. These are fascinating musings about the happenings of the time done with an extraordinarily subtle in-your-face approach. The reader would have walked away laughing without realizing that they had just been educated, a rare gift indeed.
Sometimes, while writing this column I can come up with a unique angle or clever quip but Mr. Miller put my efforts to shame. This man was an artist, portraying a council meeting as a pool game and the rise of the women’s rights movement through the satire of the “Quesnel Chapter of the Men’s Liberation Front.”
Mr. Miller delicately, all the while with inclusivity of his readers, gave his opinion unapologetically. Arguably, this characteristic is often missing today. Good heavens if you were to give offence nowadays or go against popular opinion. There might be debate – Oh, the horror!
This collection is a fascinating look back to a tumultuous time in our country’s history through the eyes of journalism and one newspaper man in particular; a man that I am lucky to have called Uncle Pete. It is a rare gift to have a second chance to get to a know a loved one and, through this collection, I have found inspiration as a writer, learned more about the history of Western Canada and a little about myself.
I invite all of you to read this book, not only if you are a lover of history or a journalistic enthusiast but also if you are a student of humanity.
I give From the Corner Table a 4/5.
Review first published in the Cochrane Eagle Newspaper.
Born and raised in BC’s lower mainland, Janice Brophy graduated from the University of Calgary in 1997 with a Bachelor of Education. During her tenure as a fifth grade teacher in Cold Lake, Alberta Janice spearheaded the middle school’s literacy program. She completed a Master of Education from the University of Alberta in 2005 and then left teaching that same year. Since then Janice expanded her love of reading into reviewing books. She publishes in the Cochrane Eagle newspaper.