Nellie McClung

By Charlotte Gray
Penguin Canada Extraordinary Canadians series
204 pages, $26.00

( Canscene) — I must confess that, until I read Charlotte Gray’s captivating account of the life of an exceptional Canadian, the very name Nellie McClung chilled me. I expected to find a square-jawed woman of unpleasantly asserted opinions and above all, as an implacable prohibitionist, a killjoy.

How wrong I was! Historian Gray reveals, certainly, a woman of great determination, but also of of imagination with a sense of adventure and humour in addition to her courage, a woman who made a difference in our lives that can be felt today.

What Charlotte Gray has done for Nellie McClung is to reveal her extraordinary ability to achieve her goals and yet remain a warm human being.

A Manitoba farm upbringing gave her the grit to become a teacher, spearhead votes for women, gain recognition of women as persons, win a seat in the Alberta Legislature, become a much=read journalist, write best-selling novels memoirs and much, much more.

And all this from a girl who didn’t go to school until she was ten years old. Nellie, along with five siblings was performing farm cores from an early age and it wasn’t until her parents moved to Manitou that she went to school, learned to read and at 17 became a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse
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