Whitetail Shooting Gallery by Annette Lapointe
I was very drawn to Annette Lapointe’s novel Whitetail Shooting Gallery when I read the synopsis on the back over. The fact that its subject matter had to do with the prairies and twenty-somethings was something I could relate to. An intriguing and unexpected feature that the summary previewed was that one of the main characters was a homosexual hockey player.
While reading the book it made me laugh out loud many times. Lapointe has a way of writing about what’s common in a novel and surprising manner. She describes the mundane in an ornate fashion that is quite remarkable. At times though, I couldn’t help but be confused as to who the speaker was or where the action was taking place because Lapointe likes to jump from character to character, from scene to scene, and from present time to the past. Upon further study however, this writing technique proved to be quite masterful and I soon caught on to who was speaking.
The characters in this book, although depicted as average Saskatchewan teens, were quite unrealistic. The cousins, Jason and Jennifer, have an inappropriately intimate relationship that even their peers know about. Jason and Jennifer are both bi-curious and yet are sexually suggestive to each other. Jason juxtaposes his relationship with Jennifer by shooting her in the face, an event that is curiously woven throughout the narrative and is resolved at the end of the book. Lapointe’s graphic writing style is refreshing and yet it takes away from the authenticity of the main characters at times. A reason why Lapointe may have done this is to challenge the clean nature of Canadian writing and perhaps this redefines how people will see Saskatchewan and the Canadian prairies. In this regard Lapointe can be seen as a modern day Sinclair Ross or Margaret Lawrence who similarly portrayed the prairies in an unexpected way. It’s as if Lapointe’s work was meant to capture small town Saskatchewan in a unique light, and she can only be applauded for attempting to do so.
The audience that Lapointe may have written this book for is twenty-somethings because the content largely deals with self-discovery and growing up. I think the book would be liked by certain people in that demographic because, like me, they might be able to laugh at or appreciate some of the references that are attributed to that period in one’s life. I think this book would also appeal to audiences outside of that demographic if they are not squeamish about sexual content of all shapes and sizes.
Reviewed by Hannah Slomp