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A CERTAIN GIRL by Ann Diamond

BOOK DESCRIPTION AND REVIEWS - EXCERPT

 


"On a day in the spring of 1956, my parents dressed my brother and me in brand new outfits, my mother put on makeup and her best, camel-hair coat, and we all went for a drive in the countryside near Montreal. We took along our puppy, Smokey, wrapped in a blanket in case he peed on the seats of our new car. Not long before, my father had agreed to enrol me in a special program, whose directors were very interested in bright little girls like me."

So begins Ann Diamond's terrifying tale of growing up in Canada during the Cold War -- an era when secrecy ran rampant, ruining careers and lives. This is the true story of one family caught in a dangerous web of deception.

Ann Diamond is an award-winning Canadian writer.

Synopsis:

If you were a child in 1956, and your father was in the Air Force, and you were chosen, you might have ended up in a secret program called MKULTRA.

Reviews

"A Certain Girl takes us beyond the official version of sleep and sensory deprivation.... [into] conscious awareness of a covert war"
-- David Thompson

The chilling story of a childhood interrupted by secret Cold War experiments. Based on true events, MY COLD WAR is a fictional recreation of a period when governments sacrificed their own citizens to national security.

There is truth behind this story, more than any of us would care to admit. With all the conspiracy accusations being passed around, Ann's story is bringing forward the truth that happened to many innocent people during a time when we thought we were being protected by our governments.
-- Shamai Currim

Licence to Drive

Ann Diamond’s new book is gripping in its drama and its poignancy. It tells the story of Anne McAllister, a little girl handed over by her parents – driven by combined self-interest and “patriotism” – in the mid-1950s to become a subject of psychological experiments connected with those performed at the Allan Memorial Institute. Ms. Diamond’s writing is by turns lyrical and engaging, brutally direct, sinister and unsettling.

During the Second World War, Nazi scientists and physicians performed bizarre experiments upon concentration camp prisoners. After the war, many Nazi engineers were brought to the US to work at NASA. Throughout the Cold War, extra-legal and cynically immoral activities were undertaken by Western governments to outpace the Soviets in intelligence gathering. In Montreal, the “mental hygiene” and “psychic-driving” experiments of Dr. D. Ewen Cameron were funded by the CIA. And across Canada, children were taken from their homes and made victims of terrible abuse in residential schools. These varied abuses, of individuals and of the public trust, occurred with government complicity — all justified by “the national interest,” and all of it documented. This is the large context of “A Certain Girl.”

..Read as historical fiction, the book works well. The narrative is elliptical, vague and sometimes confusing, coming from a protagonist who has been beaten, subjected to sensory deprivation and fed hallucinogens. The very fact that we don’t know exactly what is happening, nor always what to believe, drags us viscerally into the story. By the end, we don’t merely empathize with little Anne McAllister’s suffering and outrage: it has become our own.

-- Neil MacRae (poet and musician recently moved to Montreal)