Pure Spring by Brian Doyle

March 5, 2023

A boy’s new home and first job and first love in a small Canadian town.

This story didn’t leap and soar as much as Doyle’s others that I’ve read so far, but it had a number of recognizable elements: a young male protagonist named Martin, a cast of unique and richly-varied characters, and a celebration of closeness against the darkness and ill intent of others. There’s a gentleness and appreciation for people evident in his writing, even the broken and repellant ones.

I did not find the word “redolent” or any talking animals. But I’m going in a pretty nonsensical order reading two later novels before this one, written much earlier, and for 11–14 year olds.

It felt a bit more rosey and nostalgic, like a fifties vignette we’ve drifted through in a bunch of books and movies. Even still, it was fun to read and interesting how well it felt like the thoughts of the young boy who narrated it.