Genre: History; Biography; Family history
Published by: FriesenPress
Being Bertha: How a Wayward Woman Became a Local Legend
by Fran Generaux
Being Bertha tells the exciting and at times heartbreaking history of the Ekelunds, a young immigrant family seeking a new life—first in America and then in what is now Southern Alberta, Canada—at the beginning of the twentieth century. While the book is a family history, Genereaux’s tale revolves around a particularly noteworthy member: young Bertha, a brave, wilful, and remarkable girl who would live a life of infamy the legacy of which remains with her descendents to this day. Smart, creative, bold, and impulsive, Bertha lived many lives; most of them coloured by controversy, if not by outright deception.
ON EDITING BEING BERTHA
This is a remarkable story told by a natural storyteller—a true perfect storm of inheritance, talent, and motivation! Working with Fran was both fun and easy. Her rigorous research and writing skills meant that the manuscript was already strong when I first came to it, so my attention could be placed where it was best needed: heightening the natural drama by splicing sections and chapters differently; eliciting greater detail where the "picture" was not quite fully coloured; illuminating those moments where the author’s own speculation would be beneficial (Why did Fran think Bertha made this choice or that one? How might she have felt in that moment?) and so on.
I’m not only thrilled by the well-honed story we were able to tell, but also by the gorgeous design of the final object. The cover is a suitable testament to the isolation that Bertha could never quite escape from, as well as the geographic place she called home for the last three decades of her dramatic life. (Honestly, though, it would have been equally apt had it depicted a young, glamorous woman in a sports car, head back in raucous laughter and in the company of an admiring and handsome beau driver. Such was the variety of this lady’s fascinating life!)
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