Read West of Wawa by Lisa de Nikolits Online


Fiction. Emotionally battered and bruised, 29-year-old Australian immigrant Benny is looking for escape, not redemption. Escape from herself and the dismal failures of her life: her first solo art exhibition is panned by critics and her husband left her for an Andy Warhol look-alike. Isolated from her family, her career as an abstract artist in ruins, she comes to Canada aFiction. Emotionally battered and bruised, 29-year-old Australian immigrant Benny is looking for escape, not redemption. Escape from herself and the dismal failures of her life: her first solo art exhibition is panned by critics and her husband left her for an Andy Warhol look-alike. Isolated from her family, her career as an abstract artist in ruins, she comes to Canada and finds solace working eighteen hours a day as a graphic designer in a disreputable agency. Numbing her pain with hard work, she self-medicates with prescription meds, and becomes involved in a series of increasingly dubious relationships with ill-suited unreliable men who lead her into danger. Cutting all ties, Benny leaves her job and sets off on a road trip adventure across Canada, hoping she will discover who she wants to be and where she wants to be it. This coming-of-age novel is narrated with wry humor and filled with a cast of engaging characters. A tale of sexual adventure and feminist learning, Benny looks for escape but emerges a heroine instead; with mistakes, epiphanies and friendships helping forge her a home and a sense of identity in the true North....

Title : West of Wawa
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781926708249
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 305 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

West of Wawa Reviews

  • Heather Babcock
    2019-04-14 11:04

    Escaping marital and professional heartbreak, Benny takes a one-woman trip across Canada, meeting plenty of unique and interesting characters along the way. Benny may be streetwise but even the smartest of cookies can find themselves in trouble - particularly if 'trouble' comes in the form of a handsome bad boy. One of the many things that I love about Lisa de Nikolits' novels are that her characters always feel like friends to me. I loved backpacking across the country with Benny! A very enjoyable and inspirational book about taking chances and living outside the box.

  • Renée Frost
    2019-04-15 10:58

    Loved the character and the struggles that she went through. Her path was a lovely discovery filled with such varied people and places.

  • Donna Brown
    2019-03-23 05:13

    Benny is getting close to her 30th birthday and needs to decide what to do with her life. Before she can make such a momentous decision, she makes a rather impetuous one and decides to take a road trip across Canada. Think less jet set lifestyle, jumbo jets and the high life and more Greyhound buses, junk food and chai lattes. However, there’s more to this trip than champagne and roses: this is a chance for Benny to find herself and, hopefully, find her future.I loved Benny as a character. She is utterly flawed, not always very likeable, quite selfish and self-centred in ways. Despite all this, there is an absolutely touching vulnerability to Benny. As the book progressed I found myself absolutely, solidly in love with Benny and everything about her character, the good and the bad. At times I felt that I wasn’t just reading the book from Benny’s perspective but as if I were Benny. I completely empathised with her and even though her decisions were often questionable, I could understand the basis for them, the reasons she took such strange steps.There is so much to this book, despite a premise that seems ridiculously simple. A twenty-something screw-up on a road trip? Maybe. But I rather think that that is selling this book so very short. Instead, think of woman who is full of potential, with a bright future lying ahead of her if only she can find it. A kind soul that has been buried under expectation and disappointment. A lovely young woman who doesn’t value herself enough to recognise the love and respect she deserves from others.I enjoyed every moment of West of Wawa. It wasn’t always easy to read, it didn’t always feel comfortable but it resonated with me for days afterward. I missed Benny. I found myself wondering what would happen next. I wanted to know what her next adventures would be. I have finished some books and felt their absence keenly but it is a very rare thing for me to a finish a book and feel the loss of the character, rather than just the loss of a great story.Incredibly thought-provoking, touching, moving and inspiring, West of Wawa has been one of my favourite reads of 2012 so far. It will certainly be a difficult act to follow.Originally published on Book Bags and Cat Naps. I received a copy of this book in exchange for my fair and honest review. I did not receive any additional compensation. All opinions are my own.

  • Lauren
    2019-04-13 04:18

    I got this in a package bundle with The Witchdoctor's Bones through Goodreads First Reads. It was actually a bit of a surprise, since I'd only been expecting one book. I will say this though, I much perfered the other story to this one, although, looking back, they're quite similar in some ways. I suppose I'll leave that for other readers to decide though; it could just be me.In terms of the quantity of characters, I can definitely say I enjoyed this smaller case infinitely more than the last book I read by de Nikolitis. It was very clear that this was all about Benny, and the other characters she picked up along the way just showed us a different facet of her personality.I couldn't really get into Benny as a character though. She changed in the end, but this whole story seemed more along the lines of a pill popping escape than a self-realization sort of journey. It did turn into a good story about growing up in the figurative sense and discovering what you really want out of life. In addition, de Nikolitis (obviously through Benny) reminds readers that you don't need to have your life figured out by the time you're 25, and sometimes it takes doing something completely out of character to rekindle a spark. For Benny, it was her creative spark, but for someone else, it could be the kick in the pants to go back to school, or get sober, or even try out one of their "scathingly brilliant ideas" (obviously I'm speculating, as it did none of these things for me).I don't know. I really WANTED to like this book. Really I did. I just couldn't. Maybe I need to wait a few years and read it again when I still have no idea what I'm going to do with my life or maybe when i have everything figured out. Perhaps I'm too blue to read it right now and it should be read when one feels more up beat and determined. I'm really not sure. Maybe I'll give it another look-see in a few years and see what happens.I'd like to give it 2.5 stars, but I don't really know how to do that on here, so 2 it is for now.

  • Beatrix
    2019-03-22 04:12

    I can’t quite concur with the book cover’s promise of “A funny, moving journey towards self-realization” but it was definitely a fun read for me.The book follows Benny, a 29 year old Australian women, as she arrives in Toronto and then decides to travel across Canada. She is at a crossroads in her life and needs to find out what she wants to do with her future, a future that was once full of promise of love and artistic success and now seems rather uncertain if not disappointing to her.While Lisa de Nikolits does not employ a first person narrator the story is definitely written from Benny’s perspective. It allows the reader to get to know Benny quite in depth, understand her desires and frustrations, hopes and fears. This is really her story and her journey. I got to know her so well that it often felt like she was standing right next to me. At times I wanted to grab her and shake her to wake up and live her life.By contrast, the people she meets on her journey remain rather sketchy to the reader. That does reflect how Benny sees them as she often spends only hours or a few days with them. But I do wish I would have gotten to know some of them in more detail. West of Wawa is not really a travel journal and does not set out to give the reader an overview of Canada as a country. Nevertheless, I did get to see quite a few places of this country through Benny’s eyes. Loved that they were not just the real touristy sites but also gave you glimpses in everyday life of Canada in some seedier places.I like the author’s writing style. It is an easy read, at times with a good sense of humor, but also sad and tragic, and first of all real. Lisa de Nikolits hasn’t invented anything new here as this kind of life journey she chronicles is quite a classic one. But well written and with a very likable protagonists it makes for a thoroughly enjoyable read. No much more but certainly no less.

  • Rosemary McCracken
    2019-04-17 09:48

    Lisa de Nikolits takes us on an unforgettable road trip in her second novel, West of Wawa. Fueled by bitterness and anger, 29-year-old Benny leaves her home in Sydney, Australia, and heads across the world to Canada. She’s hell-bent on escape. She leaves a failed art career, a broken marriage and everyone she knows. In St. John’s, Nfld., she hauls her backpack filled with codeine, Valium and Southern Comfort onto a Greyhound bus and sets out into the great Canadian unknown. De Nikolits has a way with words, and West of Wawa is fresh, funny and filled with wonderful details. Benny is a tough, wise-cracking little heroine, who is always true to character, whether enthusing over a sunset or picking herself up after an encounter with one of the loser males she meets. De Nikolits reveals Benny’s backstory gradually, only telling us about her disastrous art show and marriage breakup at points in the story when Benny is able to look at them objectively. De Nikolits also deftly steers the novel away from travelogue, and makes only passing references to famous landmarks on the route Benny takes. The trip is about Benny’s inner journey from emptiness and despair, to the realization that her life hasn’t been all that bad and there are good times ahead. “Life’s what you make it, you know,” Benny says. “We all get knocks, yeah, it’s how you take it on the chin.” West of Wawa won the 2012 Independent Publisher Book Awards’ Silver Medal for Popular Fiction. It’s a delightful read.

  • Inga
    2019-04-02 09:18

    My review:West of Wawa was an interesting read. It was well written, I truly enjoyed the writing style and the language what was used for storytelling. West of Wawa is definitely worth of reading, especially if you like road novels. Regarding the plot:The novel is so much more than just a road trip. You meet Benny, a woman is very close to getting 30 years old and the book takes you to Benny's trip to finding out who she really is. After an unsuccessful relationship Australian woman called Benny decides to to take trip through Canada. During the 72 days long trip she encounters with other interesting persons, makes friends, gets abused and finally finds herself.What I enjoyed about the book was the fact, that you got a very captivating into one woman's life, to her inner thoughts, doubts, dreams, nightmares, wishes. The book did not concentrate only to the trip through Canada, but the main emphasis was on Benny and her growth.Regarding the characters: I really enjoyed Benny. She was not always very likable or lovable and she was quite selfish, but she was also a wonderful woman who could pass her troubles and grow and love. I think the author did a very good job with Benny.Generally:West of Wawa is a story which is interesting, you are taken through a journey of a woman finding herself and that journey is captivating! Definitely a very good book to read!4 stars

  • Cathy Hall
    2019-03-31 06:08

    West of Wawa follows Benny, a young woman on the brink of turning 30, who’s suddenly found herself floundering. A series of catastrophic events relating to her career and home life rock her to the core of who she is, and so she leaves Sydney, Australia and heads to Canada. There she begins a cross-country journey, mostly to hide from her past, her family, and herself. But eventually, she begins to seek again and through her myriad adventures, finds her way out of the ashes of her old life to begin building a better Benny. Is it worth the trip? I reckon you’ll have to read West of Wawa to find out.I should warn you that West of Wawa is darkly funny, but a gritty, and at times, disturbing read. Benny’s need to escape includes an overindulgence in drugs and alcohol and this flaw leads her into extremely dangerous situations. She celebrates at the end of her long trip, and honestly, I was just glad she made it out alive. That she finds her way back to those she loves, and the art she loves, is such a relief. But I would have liked to see more of that process of discovery along the way.And one more thing. If you’ve always wanted to travel across Canada to all those provinces, I mean really get the good, the bad and yes, the ugly on that huge expanse of land to our north, save yourself the bus trip and read West of Wawa. It’s all there–but you can enjoy it in clean, not to mention odor-free, comfort.

  • James Fisher
    2019-03-26 09:09

    Since Lisa sent me this book to review, I am hesitant to say anything bad about it,but I thought the story was going to be different, somehow. I was under the impression that this novel was about a woman's journey across Canada to 'find herself' and that the subject matter would be deeper, so to speak. Instead, this is straight up Chick Lit (not that there is anything wrong with that), but I found it (as a male) difficult to read. This is not a misogynist statement; I would have found it so even if the protagonist was a man. Benny is likeable enough, but her constant reliance on prescription medication and insistence on eating healthy gets a little boring by the time she hits the Manitoba/Ontario border. I realized part way through that, as a reader, I was not getting anything positive (or negative) from this book. It was like chewing gum: no nutritional value, but your stomach thinks you are eating.However, I will say that West of Wawa is a fun adventurous read if that is what you are looking for. A perfect book to take to the beach, read on an airplane, etc. so I gave it three stars instead of just two.

  • Cumberland Public Libraries
    2019-04-04 11:09

    Ever wanted to travel across Canada? That’s what Benny decides will rid her of the ghosts in her life. Benny is 29, Australian with a failed marriage and art career and some bad habits she’s picked up along the way. Follow Benny from province to province and hostel to hostel as she tries to come to terms with her life. See what she discovers both east and West of Wawa. Recommended by Dianna, Four Fathers Memorial Library, Amherst

  • Mandy Eve-Barnett
    2019-03-29 07:17

    Not only a geographical journey but also a personal one. This book engages, excites and thrills all at the same time. Lisa manages to create a well rounded character in Benny, with flaws that are real & perceived. Her 'journey' will stay with you long after you turn the last page. I highly recommend this book.

  • Margaret
    2019-04-12 11:11

    This was a book I picked up at the Ontario Library Association Conference. I should have left it there. It meandered on and on. The story unfolds during a run- away bus trip across Canada. A woman is fleeing a failed art show and a bad marriage. In her escape she is heavily into drugs, overwork and bad men.

  • Lizette Carlson
    2019-04-03 11:18

    So close to home ... way up north ... Canadian soil!

  • Susan
    2019-03-28 10:18

    A fascinating story about a young woman who is determined to change her lifestyle while travelling and working across Canada.

  • Jen Morrison
    2019-03-29 09:49

    Liked the book, didn't enjoy the cheesy subtitles

  • Kim Wyant
    2019-04-18 12:17

    A fun, quirky, thought provoking story. Very hard to put down.

  • Lora
    2019-03-25 04:01

    Although well-written, this book's protagonist was a little too dysfunctional for my taste, and her journey to a better place is not very believable.

  • Lisa Nikolits
    2019-04-11 09:00