True North is the inspirational Canadian Chapter of Jill Ker Conway's life story, which began with her much love, bestselling memoir, The Road from Coorain.nbsp;nbsp;Beginning with her departure from Australia, Jill Ker Conway tells of her romance with Harvard House Master John Conway, of coming to grips with his manic-depressive disorder, and of their move to Canada in 1964 where she became the first female vice-president at the University of Toronto.nbsp;nbsp;In this vibrant memoir, we watch as a most private woman makes of herself a public persona in Canada.
Conway was the daughter of a determined yet domineering mother in the Australian outback. As such, her flight to North America represented not only a change of culture but also freedom from a set of gender-based expectations of familial service.
She writes about her coming of age at Harvard and her finding a professional identity at the University of Toronto as a contemplative historian of women and as an action-oriented feminist. She grew up a very private woman, but she grew up into a public figure upon whom many placed their highest aspirations.
Of note, she also writes about her marriage to fellow academic John Conway. She details their struggle with his bipolar disorder and with her endometriosis, which left her barren. What’s impressive is that she grew and learned from each of these experiences. Thus, this memoir represents a long-term coming-of-age tale. Women especially can be inspired by the way that she overcame life and professional challenges to find herself over decades.
But her tale speaks to an audience and with a theme larger than that. Intelligence, class, and determination intertwine in her narrative. She relates to the human condition broadly about how to grow up in the course of life’s incessant challenges. With each blow, she became more resolute and gained more character with age. As such, I recommend this book to all readers of all ages.