Another great work by Canada’s, Camilla Gibb that digs into the meaning of a life tied with abuse and the longing for family and acceptance. Mouthing the Words will leave a powerful impact and a desire to read more of Gibb’s works.
By turns harrowing and hilarious, this adroitly narrated winner of the Toronto Book Award re-creates the world in the imagination of Thelma. It’s a world in which she can escape some of her more painful childhood realities, like those games her father likes to make her play, where he’s the boss and she the naughty secretary. And her mother so fiercely favors her younger brother, the cherubic Willy, that Thelma finds herself perpetually in emotional exile. No wonder Thelma asks practically every adult she meets to adopt her. Along Thelma’s bumpy way from a rural English village to Canada to a law degree at Oxford, she meets many potential parents and even makes some friends, but it is with the companions of her fertile imagination-with the scaredy-baby Janawee, moody and timid Ginniger, and big, strong, stoic Heroin-that Thelma finds comfort. With them, too, she loses an already tenuous connection to reality, though ultimately Thelma’s spirit and humor prove to be as indomitable as her wit.
By turns harrowing and wonderfully funny, Mouthing the Words tells Thelma’s story of sexual abuse, anorexia, borderline multiple personality disorder and her return to England. Reminiscent of Jeanette Winterson and Sylvia Plath, Mouthing the Words is a remarkable and inspiring fiction debut.
About the Author:
Camilla Gibb is the author of four novels—Mouthing the Words, The Petty Details of So-and-so’s Life, Sweetness in the Belly and The Beauty of Humanity Movement—and has been the recipient of the Trillium Book Award, the City of Toronto Book Award and the CBC Canadian Literary Award and shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Camilla has a Ph.D. from Oxford University and is an adjunct faculty member of the graduate creative writing programs at the University of Toronto and the University of Guelph-Humber. She is currently the June Callwood Professor in Social Justice at Victoria College, University of Toronto.