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ON THE BOOKSHELF: Don’t Be Talkin’

Don’t Be Talkin’ by Harry Ingram is published by Flanker Press and available at the Butterfly Book Boutique in Port aux Basques.

By Gerald J. Roy

This was a delightful book to review. Although I would be hard-pressed to point out which of these tales and recitations caught more of my attention, I have to say that once I cracked the book open, I simply could not put it down, but had to get to the next bit of foolishness. The author grabs the reader from the very beginning with one of my favourites: Don’t Be Talkin’, the ditty of the cantankerous old great-uncle John.

Whereas most Canadians would say “don’t be foolish” or “you’re full of it”, the idiom use by this old man is the very essence of the Newfoundland quirky way of expressionism. And I must admit that I was chuckling all the way, for I have known a few of these cranky old men since coming to this wonderful corner of the country. Undoubtedly Ingram has picked a number of his tales from stories told and retold for many decades in numerous households.

I give you the example of the lad out poaching lobsters and being caught by the warden, only to pretend the two lobsters are his pets that he just took for their morning swim. And what of Aunt Suze’s bartering system that crashed the economy of her village.

This book will take you from the verge of laughing out-loud to a quiet melancholy at the plight of some characters taken from real life problems or the sad passing of others. But, most importantly, it will not leave any reader indifferent.

Some of these quasi-poems or rhymes will be worth remembering or re-reading when you grow to some venerable old age and some toddlers or young child begs you “Grandpa, tell us a story”.

I have hesitated between giving the book a 4.5 star rating or a 5 star. In the end, I enjoyed this book so much that I cannot hesitate to highly recommend it, so I opted to give the maximum.

Don’t Be Talkin’: 5 out of 5 stars.

Gerald J. Roy is a former Federal Human Rights mediator and educator. Originally from Québec, he has retired to Port aux Basques to be near his family. His voracious book reading appetite trends towards westerns, spy novels, thrillers and mysteries. Find him on Facebook or via email at:

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