International Women's Day- The Dime Box is An Amnesty International 2021 Book Club Selection
Happy International Women’s Day to all the amazing, fantastic women out there! Why not celebrate this day by reading this amazing book!
Last week, Amnesty International announced The Dime Box by Canadian author Karen Grose as their 2021 March/April Book Club novel to coincide with International Women’s Day.
I had the opportunity to talk to Karen this weekend about this exciting news.
Retired Book Lady: This is such an amazing honour. What does it mean for you?
Karen: As a new author, it is so deeply humbling that Amnesty International chose The Dime Box as their 2021 March/April Book Club novel. It still feels surreal, and I think most days my hands are still shaking. It is an unbelievable honour and I’m very grateful.
Retired Book Lady: Why is Greta’s story an important one to tell?
Karen: Set in Ontario, The Dime Box is the story of a young woman, Greta Giffen, who is accused of murdering her father. The novel embodies the theme of domestic violence, yet also includes themes of justice, the search for identity, adoption, and how we, as society, define family. These themes, along with gender inequality, come alive in Greta’s story, and are embedded in her life challenges and triumphs. I believe supporting girls’ and women’s rights is one of the most pressing human rights issues of our time, and through conversation and taking action to combat injustice, we can help to create an inclusive world.
Retired Book Lady: Do you think the Global Pandemic has brought a different lens to Greta’s story? How so?
Karen: I do, and Amnesty International captured it well in this quote:
“In regular times, the characters and themes inherent in The Dime Box successfully highlight the lasting impact of domestic abuse and gender-based violence on survivors. Due to the ongoing global pandemic, these significant impacts have become further exasperated. Lockdowns and other public health restrictions have led and continue to lead to higher rates of gender-based violence, less access to sexual and reproductive health services, increased unpaid care work, and much more. In choosing The Dime Box for Amnesty International’s Book Club selection of March/April 2021, our hope is that people will begin to have their own conversations about these issues, and join us in solidarity to ensure survivors have access to protection and justice, as well as to shelters, helplines, and other vital services and supports. A pandemic is not an excuse to violate women’s rights!” -Amnesty International
Retired Book Lady: There is a quote by man named Eric Greitens that says “Resilience is distinct from mere survival, and more than mere endurance. Resilience is often endurance with direction” How does this speak to Greta and her situation?
Karen: Without giving too much away, Greta is the novel’s feisty protagonist. In the novel, we see her life from the age of four to nineteen. Throughout that period, she endures hardship beyond what many of us can imagine. However, her story is inspired by the true lives of some of the students I taught in service to public education. Like those students, Greta has a well of resilience.
Retired Book Lady: Recently your book went to number one on Amazon when your publisher released it for free for three days in November 2020 to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. What was that like for you as a debut writer?
Karen: Again, it was an amazing experience. I had to take a screenshot to believe it was real! There were thousands of downloads around the world, and if just one reader saw themselves in the novel or helped a neighbour or donated to a shelter or wrote to a local politician to advocate for increased support for girls and women, then the impact of sharing The Dime Box was achieved.
Retired Book Lady: Canadian author Lawrence Hill describes The Dime Box as “a quintessential book club novel, with an unforgettable protagonist, and where every character faces moral dilemmas and is forced to make difficult choices.” When we last spoke, you said that you hear from many readers they’re waiting for a sequel to The Dime Box. Any indication yet we may hear part two of Greta’s story?
Karen: Ha! Am still pondering that question too. Will get back to you on that one.
Retired Book Lady: Can you tell us what you are working on now? And when will you release your next book?
Karen: I’m just in the final editing stage of my second next novel now. It’s an adult thriller told from the point of view of a husband and wife. It’s the story of a normal, everyday family who live in beautiful Grimsby, Ontario. Except, the two narrators do not get along and this family is the farthest thing from normal you can ever imagine. Think crime, dead bodies and the dark web.
Retired Book Lady: Congratulations again on this incredible honour. Please remind us where we can purchase your book?
Karen: Thanks Lori. It’s been so good chatting with you. If someone wishes to purchase The Dime Box, they can do so at Chapters/Indigo, on Amazon and at their local independent bookstore. It’s available in paperback and as an ebook. If readers want to connect with me, they can do so via Twitter: @kgrose2, on Facebook, Goodreads or LinkedIn, or on my website at www.karengrose.ca
Gender Based Violence
Now more than ever it is urgent to learn more and address gender based violence because-
It costs women their lives: approximately every six days, a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner.
Violence against women costs taxpayers and the government billions of dollars every year: Canadians collectively spend $7.4 billion to deal with the aftermath of spousal violence alone.
It has a profound effect on children: Children who witness violence in the home have twice the rate of psychiatric disorders as children from non-violent homes.
Karen Grose was born in Canada and lives with her family in Toronto. After a long career as a teacher, principal and superintendent, she turned her attention to writing. The Dime Box is her debut novel and she is currently working on a second. Karen is a member of Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime-National, and Sisters in Crime-Toronto Chapter. When she isn’t writing, she consults in the global EdTech sector and walks her high-strung French bulldog, Ruby, on the boardwalk of Lake Ontario.
Amnesty International Book Club
The Amnesty International Book Club engages readers by connecting important books to real-world human rights issues. Hosted by acclaimed guest readers, a Discussion Guide is created which includes the guest readers thoughts, discussion questions, background information on their chosen issue in their chosen book, and an action that can be taken on a current human rights case. Past renowned authors chosen for the book club include Zarqa Nawaz, Catherine Hernandez, Margaret Atwood, Shyam Salvadurai, Cherie Dimaline and Lawrence Hill.