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Collingwood Public Library 2013

Mel Pockaj Image 2 (3)The Defender

Mel Pockaj was raised in Collingwood with strong family roots in local strawberry farms and apple orchards. This country girl escaped to the big city briefly, but knew Collingwood was ultimately where she wanted to raise a family of her own. Being offered a position as co-host of Georgian Bay Life on Rogers TV was the perfect excuse to come home.

Mel is a keen reader. And, it’s an addiction of which she’s not seeking treatment. As a child she would dedicate summer vacations to conquering entire series by her favourite authors. Now she reads children’s books to her young son, and enjoys Canadian classics and memoirs in her spare moments.

Working as an interviewer, Mel is fascinated by people’s stories. She revels in learning the undiscovered stories that may lie beneath the surface. She is always excited when an author can narrate these inner works through a fictional character. She is often caught rereading novels that have real and relatable characters, such as Douglas Coupland’s Eleanor Rigby.

EleanorRigbyThe Book

Liz Dunn is one of the world’s lonely people. Her whole life, she’s tried to get to the root of her sadness, to figure out what she’s been doing wrong, with little success. But then, one night in 1997, everything changes:  she witnesses the passing of the Hale-Bopp comet. For Liz, this streak of light across the sky is a portent of radical change — and for her, radical change means finally accepting her lot.

A day after Liz makes the decision to seek peace in her life rather than control, along comes another comet, in the form of a stranger admitted to the local hospital with her name and number inscribed on his MedicAlert bracelet. For the new Liz, the phone call from the hospital feels like “the fulfillment of a prophecy”; the young man, it turns out, is her son, whom she gave up for adoption when she was sixteen.

With Eleanor Rigby, Douglas Coupland has given us a powerful and entertaining portrait of a woman who could be any one of us — someone who thinks it is too late to make anything of her life, who feels defeated by the monotony of her days, yet who also holds within her the potential for monumental change and for great love.

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