Review: Looking for Gordon
The Shape of Love, 2021
"This is a beautifully written memoir of love and a lament that has a universal quality to it. A potent and loving gesture from the author to her deceased husband."
Michael Redhill, winner of the 2017 Giller Prize for his novel Bellevue Square
Reviews: True Stories of Rescue and Survival: Canada’s Unknown Heroes
“Forget Hollywood celebs and music stars, the real role models for our youth are the men and women who keep us all safe. Carolyn Matthews’ new book, True Stories of Rescue and Survival: Canada’s Unknown Heroes, showcases 22 Canadians who have shown tremendous courage and compassion in the face of danger” - Canadian Living magazine, May, 2009
“The heroes in Carolyn Matthews’ new book, True Stories of Rescue and Survival, have to make split-second decisions in life and death situations, all the while treading on a very thin margin of error. Matthews makes an argument for re-defining our society’s heroes – and would prefer to replace athletes, musicians and movie stars for those who put themselves in harm’s way on behalf of others.
Matthews’ 10 stories demonstrate the unflinching bravery of SAR personal and the heavy burden of responsibility they assume. She deftly extracts key details, capturing the urgency and dangerousness of each situation. In Jumping into the Abyss, rescuers risk altitude sickness before skydiving into a rocky canyon to extract plane crash survivors. When a four-year-old boy gets lost in an overgrown forest in New Brunswick, police and volunteer searchers spend exhausting 12-hour shifts combing the woods.
Beyond show-casing unsung bravery, the book also acts as a valuable resource. Each concise case study instructs as it entertains, and helpful sidebars serve as useful reference material. Ultimately the book poses a fundamental question to every rescuer by laying bare the potential dangers inherent in SAR work: How far are willing to go [to risk your life for the sake of others?] Those who choose this work stand to gain a deeper understanding of themselves, insight into the nature of true strength – and career fulfillment…” - SARscene magazine, April, 2009
“Carolyn Matthews’ book should inspire a generation of young readers – and adults too. The tales take place across Canada’s vast and inhospitable landscape…its heroes located in the Armed forces, the Navy, the RCMP, and Canadian Coast Guard. Not least are volunteers who jump in with both feet to help others. Their combined expertise is awesome. "We do everything and anything to rescue people," says one. "Mountain climbing, medical help, boating, parachuting, diving, helicopter hoisting, parachuting, scuba diving… we do our very best to save lives."
"If it is human nature to want heroes," the author says, "then perhaps it is possible to influence who we choose. These stories are an attempt to do just this." - The Voice, Toronto March, 2009