Prize-winning author James FitzGerald explores how the death of an eighteen-year-old girl in the summer of 1968 forever changed his life and the life of the other man who loved her. Dreaming Sally is a deeply moving exploration of the weight of a life cut short.
Sally will die in Europe this summer.
George Orr dreamed that his girlfriend, Sally Wodehouse, would die on the trip she wanted to take, and he begged her not to go. But Sally did not take him seriously--how could she? She left for Europe in July 1968 with twenty-five other private-school kids, on "The Odyssey," a Sixties version of the Grand Tour. In August 1968, only hours after becoming engaged to George via telegram, she died as he had dreamed she would, in a freak accident.
Sally was George's first love, but she was also James FitzGerald's. James first met Sally at a family cottage; he was drawn to her energy and warmth, a stunning contrast to the chilly emotional life of his own family. At seventeen, not exactly a hit with the girls, James was delighted when he realized that he'd be spending the summer with his old friend. And soon, even though he knew that Sally had a serious boyfriend back home, they became inseparable, touring the glories of Western culture by day, dancing and drinking the nights away--giddily unshackled from the expectations and requirements of their class and upbringing.
To George and James, both sons of parents who knew how to make demands of their children but not how to love them, Sally represented all the optimism and promised freedom of the '60s. Her death has haunted both men for fifty years--arresting their development, miring them in grief and unreasoning guilt. Dreaming Sally is a profound and evocative exploration of the long shadow left by an eighteen-year-old girl, an uncanny story of first love, sudden death and the complexity of trauma and mourning.
About the Author:
Educated at Upper Canada College and Queen's University, James FitzGerald spent over 40 years in the fields of journalism and book publishing. His first book, Old Boys: The Powerful Legacy of Upper Canada College, was a controversial inside look at the attitudes and values of English Canada's ruling class families rendered in an oral history format. Revelations of the sexual abuse of boys at the school, first published in his book in 1994, sparked the criminal conviction of three former teachers and a successful multi-million dollar class action suit against UCC. His second book, What Disturbs Our Blood: A Son's Quest to Redeem the Past, was a multi-layered exploration of madness and high achievement within his prominent Toronto medical family. In 2010, the book won the Writers' Trust Non-Fiction Prize and was shortlisted for three other major literary awards. The last in a thematic trilogy of creative non-fiction, Dreaming Sally is a true story of first love, sudden death and synchronicity set in the summer of 1968.