Grey County Reads


Grey County Reads - Starlight

Kaleena Johnson Defends:

by Richard Wagamese


With a new year upon us, many have personal transformation on our minds. The novel Starlight centres around one character, Emmy, and her personal transformation while introducing us to other characters who are the catalyst for this change and the gentle guides who help and see her through this transformation.

Care and attention are prevalent throughout the novel in the character and plot development. There’s a sense of building affection between the readers and its characters until trust is awarded and the depths of the characters begin to be revealed. As human beings, we long for a connection; to a person, nature, place or thing, and while reading Starlight, I was enthralled by author, Richard Wagamese's ability to write with raw honest, concrete understanding and eloquence. I was able to parallel myself to the characters and the plot itself.

Throughout the novel, readers are exposed to many facets of human nature, cruelty, anger, fear, and utter beauty, all of which leads us to examine how we choose to live our lives as well.
Wagamese died March 24, 2017 with Starlight not yet being finished. Readers are left with not knowing if Emmy was able to honour her transformation or when faced with adversity, abandon them.

Plot summary

The novel begins with us first meeting Starlight after encountering a significant loss in his life. Readers then reflect and journey with Starlight through his home, surroundings and past and what his next move should be - does he leave the only place he's only ever known, or does he venture to somewhere new to begin a new life? Ultimately, he decides to stay at his home at which point creates the backdrop and inspiration for the rest of the novel.

Starlight, the novel, is broken up into three books;
1) Wild Things
2) Deer Stalker
3) Unbroken Love

All three books, to me had three different plots, as they all identify and expose the different layers and the transformation of Emmy.

Book One: Wild Things begins with plotting the escape of Emmy and her daughter Winnie from an extremely loveless and lonely life only filled with years of abuse, neglect and many hardships. Once finally "free", readers journey with the mother and daughter duo as they travel many distances to separate themselves from the men with whom they encountered the many years of abuse from. Even with all the miles separating the girls and their former life they still carry with them the damages put onto them throughout their life until one day when they fatefully met Starlight.

Book Two: Deer Stalker, it's been sometime now that Emmy and Winnie have been residing with Starlight, and although their life is pleasant enough, they are still in the grips of their former life. In this book journey with Starlight, his friend Roth, Emmy and Winnie through the backcountry and mountain range of western Canada and Starlight guides the girls in finding a connection with something greater than themselves. Through this discovery and connection, Emmy can see life in a different light and begins to life with a different purpose, love and happiness- with herself, her daughter, Roth and Starlight.

Book Three: Unbroken Love, finally living a life with meaning and free from fear of her past, Emmy is flourishing, as well as Winnie. Living life comfortable and unsuspecting, Emmy is confronted by the men from her past who have relentlessly hunted her.

More on Starlight to come soon!

Grey County Reads

Grey County Reads is a county-wide reading program involving seven local libraries, including Grey Highlands, Hanover, Meaford, Owen Sound, Southgate, Town of Blue Mountains and West Grey. Five local celebrities advocate for five Canadian books.

How to Participate

Readers are encouraged to follow along with the contest, consider each book and it’s celebrity endorsement. Pick up your own copy of one or more of these books and give us your opinion too. Books are available in limited quantities from your local public library or may be purchased from your favourite local bookstore.

  • Kaleena Johnson, Manager of Customer & Media Relations for the MS Chi-Cheemaun, will advocate for Starlight by Richard Wagamese.
  • Terry Burns, writer, poet, visual artist and arts administrator, will advocate for Bellevue Square by Michael Redhill.
  • Steve Morel, Entertainer and Arts Administrator for Durham Art Gallery, will advocate for Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice.
  • Geoff Bowes, actor, author and former carpenter, will advocate for Steal Away Home by Karolyn Smardz-Frost.
  • Carolyn Letourneau, Executive Director for Beaver Valley Outreach will advocate for The Evening Chorus by Helen Humphreys.

Read any or all of the Grey County Reads books and/or read each of the book synopses and celebrity installments posted on

Grey County Reads is supported through advertising by these local businesses:

The Bicycle Café
The Bookstore
Chapman's Ice Cream
The Colour Jar
ColourPix Graphic Design Services
Grey County Public Libraries
Grey Roots Museum and Archives
John Tamming Law
Larry Miller, MP Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound
Nature's Path Osteopathy and Alternative Healing
Owen Sound Transportation Company
The Restaurant - Leela's Villa Inn
Speaking Volumes Books and Audio
Bill Walker, MPP Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound
West Grey Chamber of Commerce


Grey County Reads Sponsors - 2018


your neighbourhood
south grey news
Speaking Volumes Tower ad
Grey Highlands Libraries
ColourPix Tower Ad
The Art Map
Grey Roots
Leela's Villa Inn
Bill Walker 2018 ad
Timothy Dyck
Chapmans proudly Canadian
The Bookstore
Bicycle Cafe
Chi-Cheemaun month of Sundays
Nature's Path - 2
Larry Miller - 2018
West Grey Chamber - Nov - 2 - 2018
Tamming Law