Title: Precious Cargo
Author: Craig Davidson
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥
I read this book because it was on the Canada Reads 2018 longlist, and it was one of the first to come through from the library. I guess it wasn’t all that popular until it got nominated for Canada Reads. But I sure am glad that I got it when I did, because demand is sure to go up now that it has been named as one of the 5 contenders for this year’s competition.
And I have to say that I’m glad I read this book, in general. Craig Davidson went for a job as a school bus driver almost on a whim, in a moment of desperation. In his mid-30s, his dreams of being a prolific writer didn’t seem to be going as well as he had hoped, and one day a flyer just dropped into his mailbox advertising for new drivers. And that does it. He gets the job, and is right away assigned to a route driving special-needs kids to and from school every day.
I think what appealed to me most about this book was the way the author took a chance and it worked out positively for him! I could totally relate to the slump-ish feeling he was experiencing in his early 30s. He had published one book successfully, but his next was brutally rejected, and I think he was beginning to doubt he would even make it in the writing world.
I had a similar time in my late 20s. Suddenly, I began to realize that life doesn’t really fall together quite as easily as the message I had heard repeatedly throughout high school: “if you just do what you love, success and money will follow!” Also, when I first came to Canada, I grabbed on to a few job opportunities that I probably would not have otherwise considered if I hadn’t been so broke and desperate. It has turned out that those opportunities I grabbed onto lead me to where I am now – in a job I love at a really great company. And for the author of this book, I think it gave him some meaning for his life and definitely some fodder for a novel! So, in that way I really felt like I could relate to the book.
I do have to say that I didn’t really get the inserted passages from the “unpublished novel” The Seekers. Was it supposed to highlight something out of the story? Was it supposed to add some kind of meaning? I don’t know. I thought it was strange and a bit too experimental for me. But it wasn’t bad enough to detract from my 5-star rating. I just didn’t get it.
Overall, I 100% recommend this book. I loved reading both the everyday practical side of driving these kids to school everyday, as well as the beautiful, heart-warming and at times humorous relationships and interactions that he had with these students. This is only the second book I’ve read on the Canada Reads shortlist, but so far it’s my favourite of the two.