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On the surface, Ted Goodden's book, Glory Boy, reads like a cautionary tale. It is the simple story of a "do-nothing" boy and the fate that befalls him. Yet it also possesses a more protean quality that
touches each reader
individually.
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Gert, the 12-year old protagonist, is at odds with his mother and father. He is a daydreamer, always in trouble, not for anything he's done but on account of all the things he doesn't do. Gert appreciates the glory in the natural world around him. His parents, on the other hand, work and worry, and are generally at odds with what to do with such a boy.

Prematurely thrust
out into the world, Gert happily retreats into the forest, a place where everything he needs is there for the taking. Ultimately, however, he falls prey to the harsh realities of winter. As Goodden points out, "reality bites, sooner, or later." Cold, hungry, and alone, Gert follows tracks in the snow to find comfort. He meets Anna: spinner, weaver, and alchemist, and is seduced by her talents. Anna, in return, recognizes Gert's ability to see glory. Gert becomes useful, but tips the scales, beyond purpose, into obsession.

Ted Goodden admits that he struggled with this book. Over a period of 25 years, it was not so much rewritten as encouraged to evolve. In this final version, Ted Goodden uses active verbs to describe Gert's time in the woods, allowing the boy to take on real agency, even before he meets Anna. This change may seem small, but Ted Goodden points out, "Gert has to cooperate in his own fate, otherwise he becomes a victim." He credits his brother Herman Goodden for being a "sympathetic" editor, targeting only three sentences for revision. He thanks James Reaney Jr. and Stan Dragland for their encouragement.

Introduction Page
by Ted Goodden
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Waterloo Record's story & gallery.
 

ted goodden stained glass windows restorations installations commissionsted goodden stained glass windows restorations installations commissionsted goodden stained glass windows restorations installations commissionsCover and
Pages 26 & 33
of Glory Boy
by Ted Goodden

For Ted Goodden the book is about balance, "how to become a useful person, and not lose the childlike qualities we value in ourselves and others." Essentially, glory traps are those things that suck the wonder out of everyday life. Yet, Ted Goodden says, stained glass, his artistic medium of choice, can also trap glory. "We see things by light, but we don't see light itself, however, stained glass can trap the light and break it up."

Ted Goodden uses both collage and stained glass to illuminate Gert's somewhat circular journey. He is quick to point out that the collages are not simply studies, they are works of art in their own right.

Although Glory Boy is marketed as a children's book, Ted Goodden has successfully created a book that appeals to all ages. This is the simple tale of a boy who gets so caught up in
activity, that he loses his sense of wonder and appreciation, like collectors sometimes do.

(words by Beth Stewart)

 

 

Page 18 of Glory Boy
by Ted Goodden
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ISBN 0-9689835-0-2

Distributed By:
Red Tuque Books Inc.

Available at:
Oxford Books - Mandala Book Shop - The Last Word - New Millennium

Printed in Canada by The Aylmer Express Ltd., Fine Print Division