Rabbit Foot Bill

Rabbit Foot Bill

A Novel

Book - 2020
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"A lonely boy in a prairie town befriends a tramp in 1947 and then witnesses a shocking murder. Based on a true story. Canwood, Saskatchewan, 1947. Leonard Flint, a lonely boy in a small farming town befriends the local tramp, a man known as Rabbit Foot Bill. Bill doesn't talk much, but he allows Leonard to accompany him as he sets rabbit snares and to visit his small, secluded dwelling. Being with Bill is everything to young Leonard--an escape from school, bullies and a hard father. So his shock is absolute when he witnesses Bill commit a sudden violent act and loses him to prison. Fifteen years on, as a newly graduated doctor of psychiatry, Leonard arrives at the Weyburn Mental Hospital, both excited and intimidated by the massive institution known for its experimental LSD trials. To Leonard's great surprise, at the Weyburn he is reunited with Bill and soon becomes fixated on discovering what happened on that fateful day in 1947. Based on a true story, this page-turning novel from a master stylist examines the frailty and resilience of the human mind."--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Toronto, Ontario :, HarperCollins Publishers Ltd,, [2020]
Edition: First edition
Description: 231 pages ; 23 cm
Copyright Date: ©2020
ISBN: 9781443451543
Branch Call Number: Hump
Additional Contributors: Humphreys, Helen, 1961- Rabbit Foot Bill

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JLMason
Mar 08, 2021

An unusual coming-of-age story where a newly graduated psychiatrist starts his career at a mental hospital in Saskatchewan in the late 1950's. The child-like unsophistication of the doctor colours his narrative with an odd detachment and innocence, creating tension as the reader seeks to understand what is really happening. The book subtly addresses mental health in multiple forms from a historic perspective, including clinical use of LSD, post-traumatic stress, and soldiers returning from WW II. The power of the story lies in the incongruity of the nostalgically portrayed 50's with reality.

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LBJ
Feb 23, 2021

Ok This was one of my favorite reads this year so far.
Very short read , but boy what a punch.
Work of fiction based on true events.
Powerful read, great story about emotional friendship, hardship and strange but true medical treatments back in time.

Loved this book. A must read for sure. Will be reading it again a little slower to really enjoy it!!!!

a
adit17
Nov 28, 2020

Really enjoyed this book! Although not very similar, I kept getting images of the film Shutter Island by Martin S. For improvement, I wished the author spent a bit more time building up the setting and characters. The book references Markham, so I was hoping it would've described what life was like in Markham during the 70s. Also, without spoiling too much, the latter half of the book is spent developing a huge reveal; if the characters were developed better, this would've had more impact. I would recommend it to read, and to support a local author!

p
PansyT
Oct 31, 2020

Quite a quick, approachable read looking at the ravages of PTSD before it was called that. Set in Saskatchewan after WWII in the large Provincial mental institution in Weyburn, we follow the plight of a young doctor as he finds himself unsuited for the job. ( I found myself rather annoyed at him for his lack of assistance to both his mother, and Bill of the title.) I actually worked at the hospital shortly after this period during summer breaks from Uni. The size and extent of the hospital are truly portrayed. The jobs provided for patients in the gardens and dairy farm were a great option, providing all the food for the hospital. Ageing patients could set up their own garden plots and sell produce to people of the town, thereby earning some money, and still be in a familial protected living situation. Perhaps a system that could be revisited today, rather than turning them out on the mean streets.

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lindemuldercr
Aug 08, 2020

Edmonton journal

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