Amelia’s Aquarium, Zhauna Alexander

I don’t expect anyone to know much about this book. There are not even any reviews on Goodreads…well, except for my own rating now. It is local though and was printed in 1999 at River Books, an imprint of The Books Collective, in Edmonton. I found it in the poetry section of Audreys Books (support local business!). I was attracted to the format, as it is a deck of cards!

Yes, basically it is a choose your-own-adventure style, in terms of how you want to peruse the content. The set is numbered differently on the front and back or you can sort based on the illustrations on the front. Alexander even encourages the reader to shuffle the deck and take your chances that way. So, technically I have now read this 3 times; front, back, and shuffled.

According to the synopsis, this is an exploration of dealing with mental illness, while playing with the loose structure of a medieval fable. There is an element of fable and there are also fractured memories of love, love lost, abuse, and mental illness. There are even postcards! However, my favourite part has to be the general format. The idea of having a flow, but being able to quickly blend the parts and seeing if it comes out the same, more manic, or completely different, is just super fun and appealing. I would love to see more books presented in this manner.

Music Corner:

  1. “Ping Island / Lightning Strike Rescue Op” – Mark Mothersbaugh- Honestly, it’s because the word “aquarium” makes me think of the word “aquatic”, which makes me think of Team Zissou.
  2. “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground”– The White Stripes- Broken, manic, and beautiful.

Books Read: 10



One response to “Amelia’s Aquarium, Zhauna Alexander

  1. Sorting through boxes of my life’s detritus, I came across Amelia’s Aquarium, which I had trouble categorizing. I don’t even entirely recall how I came to be in possession of it. Had I received it as a gift? Had I purchased it myself, perhaps as a bargain-basement curiosity? I searched the internet for some clues on how to approach this artifact, and your entry here is the first and so far only useful suggestion of how to do so. Thanks!

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