When twenty-two-year-old Marla finds herself unexpectedly pregnant, she wishes for a family, but faces precariousness: an uncertain future with her talented, exacting boyfriend, Liam; constant danger from her roommate, Dani, a sometime prostitute and entrenched drug addict; and the unannounced but overwhelming needs of her younger brother, Gavin, whom she has brought home for the first time from deaf school. Forcing her hand is Marla's fetal alcohol syndrome, which sets her apart but also carries her through. When Marla loses her job and breaks her arm in a car accident, Liam asks her to marry him. It's what she's been waiting for: a chance to leave Dani, but Dani doesn't take no for an answer.
Marla stays strong when her mother shows up drunk, creates her own terms when Dani publicly shames her, and then falls apart when Gavin attempts suicide. It rains, and then pours, and when the Bow River finally overflows, flooding Marla's entire neighbourhood, she is ready to admit that she wants more for her child than she can possibly give right now. Marla's courage to ask for help and keep her mind open transforms everyone around her, cementing her relationships and proving to those who had doubted her that having a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder does not make a person any less noble, wise or caring.
Teeny Tiger and The Great Word Ocean.
Written by Jennifer Spruit and illustrated by Klrissa Wright.
In this picture book, a feline logophile sets out on a journey to collect new words. Teeny Tiger travels the biosphere visiting with different creatures. She is frustrated with her inability to understand the other animals until she reaches the great word ocean. Here she discovers the beauty of alliteration, the precision of grammar, the joy of punctuation, and the humourous nature of English spellings. When she returns home, she shares the gift of language with the other animals, and gives a special message to her parents.
• “Liam Doesn’t Know About the Baby.” Existere Journal of Arts and Literature Volume 31(2) (2012): 7-16.
• “Maybe Baby.” NoD Magazine Issue 5 (2012): 14-15.
• “The Person in Charge.” Ottawa Arts Review Volume 6(1) (2012): 47-51.
• “One.” Branch Issue 1 (2010). 8 September 2010. <http://www.branchmagazine.com/archives/issue1/index.html>
• “David Bule.” The Collective Collection #2. Calgary: filling Station, December 2009: 7.
• “Wordie.” The Collective Collection #1. Calgary: filling Station, December 2008. 19-20.
• “Stalemate With Nana.” The Antigonish Review Number 173 (2013): 92-93.
• “At a Child’s Park.” Prairie Fire Magazine Volume 34(1) (2013): 93.
• “The Panther I’m Somehow Sleeping With.” NoD Magazine Issue 5 (2012): 12-13..
• “roster.” Arc Poetry Magazine Issue 67 (2012): 14.
• “Two.” The Collective Collection #1. Calgary: filling Station, December 2008: 18.
Jennifer grew up in Lloydminster, AB/SK, alongside pump jacks, farm machinery, and its endless, sparkling winter sky.
Her affair with writing began with a Grade One story about a tractor, but she has since become engaged in writing about people. She studied Creative Writing at UBC and now lives in Courtenay, on Vancouver Island, where she enjoys playing folk and bluegrass, teaching kids, and rowing a blue canoe.
Her work has appeared in Arc, The Antigonish Review & Prairie Fire Magazine among others. A HANDBOOK FOR BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE is her debut novel. Jennifer is currently at work on a second novel.