Monday, April 10, 2006

Carleton University's newspaper, the Charlatan, reviews D'Amour Road

Lisa Xing, a reporter for Carleton University's newspaper, the Charlatan, wrote this wonderful review of D'Amour Road.

"Sigrid Macdonald makes an astonishing entrance with her sophomore publication, D'amour Road. I've recently found it quite difficult to get through all of my existential philosophy reads and explanations into relativity, so it was refreshing, to say the least, when I picked up the book and couldn't put it down.

Macdonald does an amazing job of setting the background for the action, especially in portraying Tara, a 40 year-old woman going through a mid-life crisis. With no sexual desire for her husband, she channels her frustration to the virile young man working at the local Loeb, Alain.

She feels disconnected from her teenage son and has some serious reservations on her "older woman/motherly" image. Her life is thrown into turmoil when her best friend, Lisa, disappears suddenly.

Tara's internal monologue and first person narration is entirely believable and realistic. Her bleak worries on her age and desire for Alain is hilarious, infused with sarcastic and almost cynical stream of consciousness that helps the reader identify with her. This makes her the perfect 21st century crisis-wreaked heroine.

The story brings us back to the age-old concept of conflict - man vs. nature, man vs. man and man vs. himself. Well, in this case, woman.

With D'amour Road, Macdonald covers all these bases extensively as Tara falls apart following Lisa's disappearance, fighting waning feelings of self-worth, contempt for others and fear of losing someone she loves.

Throughout the ordeal and daily searches for Lisa, Tara fights to stay together, but her situation at home with Mark, her husband of 15 years doesn't help. Tara describes him in an unattractive, contemptuous way.

In turn, she gets increasingly obsessive with Alain that she makes a point to apply makeup and choose attractive outfits when grocery-shopping.Alain joins the search for Lisa. When this happens, I didn't know whether to think that something between them would happen or not.

Although Tara is emotionally unstable throughout the novel, her narration is oddly reliable and gives a solid foundation for the rest of the plot. I was surprised to see what a compelling character she was and after finishing, I actually felt disappointed to know that she was a fictional character.

After reading this book, centered on Lisa's mysterious disappearance and backed up by some sub-plots, I immediately though of the recent Jennifer Teague case. The Barrhaven teenager was leaving work on Jan. 8 when she disappeared. Another similar case also comes to mind - Ardeth Wood, an Ottawa woman who was murdered two years ago. There seem to be eerie similarities in the cases, and the Wood case is even mentioned in the novel.

Macdonald addresses these issues sensitively but also candidly, raising public awareness while creating fiction that is accessible and entertaining."

Saturday, April 08, 2006

New tips

Ottawa police have received 85 new tips about the Jennifer Teague case since their press conference on Thursday where they released a composite sketch of a potential suspect. Police are now saying that Jennifer's murder was "sexually motivated." If you have any information about Jennifer Teague -- something that you remember or something that you fear may be unimportant -- or think that you recognize the man in the drawing, please call 236-1222, ext. 5477 or e-mail The investigators need all of our help.

Sigrid Mac

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Teague reward may be as high as $100,000

At the press conference this afternoon, police introduced a sketch from a witness who they said just came forward a few weeks ago. The sketch portrays a white man, somewhere between age 18 to 30 with a "thin or medium build." He was "wearing a dark ball cap and dark clothing when he was seen along the Moodie Dr. area," the Ottawa Sun reported.

The newspaper also noted that the person who murdered Jennifer Teague probably acted strangely immediately after her disappearance and the large-scale publicity blitz. Hopefully, the sketch combined with the reward incentive will get neighbors, acquaintances, and employees thinking about anyone who may resemble the photo and might have acted peculiarly right after Jennifer disappeared.

Wendy's Canada have informed the public that they will be putting up a generous $50,000 reward. Police Chief Vince Bevan said he will ask the police services board to double the amount to $100,000.

Sigrid Mac

Teague press conference scheduled for Thursday

Police are planning a press conference today with Jennifer Teague's parents and reps from Wendy's in Barrhaven, ON where she worked. Jennifer had finished her late night shift on September the 9th, 2005 and was walking home sometime around 1:30 am when she disappeared. An off-duty Ottawa police office found her body 10 days later on an NCC trail off Moodie Drive.

Apparently, the police now have a composite sketch, which was assembled by talking to a witness who had not previously told his story along with feedback from Jennifer's friends. There was some talk about a "person of interest." But her friends have been quoted as saying that the sketch is vague.

Police found quite a bit of evidence at the scene of the crime, which has been tested at the forensics lab in Toronto. But they're not sure they have all of the items Jennifer Teague had with her that night -- including her Wendy's uniform.

Today's Ottawa Citizen stated: "Police believe she knew the person, or persons, who picked her up as she made her way home along Jockvale Road, although they cannot be certain she went willingly.

"Mr. Teague also thinks his daughter knew her killer.

'I believe someone who knew Jennifer is definitely involved in this,' Mr. Teague said days after his daughter went missing. 'She would never approach a car with strangers.'"

The Ottawa Sun said that they think that Wendy's Canada will offer a reward -- "believed to be $50,000" -- to entice someone to come forth with pertinent information.

Hope we're getting one step closer to solving this tragic mystery. If you have *any* news about the case, please call the Ottawa police at (613) 236-1222.

Thanks. Sigrid Mac

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Excuse Me While I Kiss the Sky

A grateful Jill Carroll returned to Boston today after leaving Germany on Saturday. She was finally reunited with her parents and her twin sister after spending 82 days in captivity in the hands of Iraqi terrorists.

Carroll strongly denied comments that she had made while being held prisoner and asserted that she had been "repeatedly threatened," according to Glen Johnson of the Associated Press.

Jill Carroll was pleased to see a copy of the Christian Science Monitor on her airplane; the newspaper will be covering her story in greater detail later on but would like to give Jill some time right now to regroup and appreciate her freedom and her family.

Sigrid Mac