A vividly wrought memoir, Last Dance in Shediac is a collection of the author’s personal memories of her mother—celebrated Canadian artist Molly Lamb Bobak—and a tender meditation on life and death.
“I had always assumed that neither of my parents would end up in an old folks’ home. And yet here was Mum, ensconced in a world of pad-covered recliner chairs, legion singalongs, ball-tossing exercises done sitting down, plastic cups of juice, Jell-O, and fluorescent lights. “Mum, this really isn’t a home; it’s more like a hotel for old people,” I’d tell her, and that temporarily softened the blow for both of us.” —An excerpt from the book
Molly Lamb Bobak (1922–2014) was the first woman to travel overseas as an official Canadian war artist. She was also the daughter of famous Canadian artist Harold Mortimer-Lamb, whose contemporaries included Emily Carr, A.Y. Jackson, and Jack Shadbolt. In this homage to her artist mother, Anny Scoones rounds out her mother’s public profile by revealing personal stories.
Anny’s memories reveal the funny and touching details of her relationship with Molly, from the road trips they took together to the visits Molly would make to Victoria to visit Anny on Glamorgan Farm, and the lovely chaos that ensued when Anny’s five dogs would greet Molly in the car. Anny shares their little inside jokes and the memories they made together in a way that brings their connection—beyond mother–daughter bond to close friendship—to life for the reader.
As her mother ages and becomes increasingly frail, Anny spends more and more time in Fredericton. Their road trips grow shorter, and Anny’s reflections on how it feels to finally watch her mother go are tender, heartbreaking, and memorable.
"It's obvious that this family has a lot more going on below the surface than Scoones is prepared to reveal, but rather than disappointing me, it made me read and reread the book more closely, as I savoured whatever tiny glipmses I could get of anything that would help fill in the picture of Molly Lamb Bobak's inner life." —Patty Osborne, Geist
"A meandering memoir, told in [Scoones'] unique and quirky voice. It is a bouquet of a book." —Times Colonist
"This book is the perfect read for a retreat … truly delightful … I know Shediac is in New Brunswick, but the heart of the book lives here." —Tofino-Ucluelet Westerly News
"Anyone who might be disappointed in not learning more about Molly Lamb Bobak the artist will come away from Last Dance in Shediac with something that transcends art." —BC Studies
Anny Scoones shares a few family stories with CBC's Shift, including the touching story behind the memoir's unusual title.