Growing Up With Julie is the story of Gerry Steele’s childhood with a French-speaking mother in an English-speaking community. Set in Miscouche, near Summerside, Prince Edward Island, in the Depression and Second World War years of the 20th century, the story is a gritty snapshot of life in a Catholic family burdened by extreme poverty, alcohol, illness, and cultural tensions between Acadians and Scots. At the head of the family is  Steele’s grandmother, a woman unwavering in her beliefs—regardless of their merit, validity, or tendency to offend. But the heroine of the story is Steele’s mother, a quiet woman resigned to her own isolation and exclusion, but determined to help her children escape. Gifted with a memory for detail, Steele has written a candid and sometimes shocking memoir that is rich in integrity and precision — a passionate but unsentimental story that moves seamlessly between despair and humour, and finally toward forgiveness and hope.

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