“The signs are mixed, the next twelve months could bring new challenges and unexpected changes. Moulds may be broken wild some patterns may reoccur. A shedding of skin could be on the horizon. Moments of adversity, calamity, triumph, disappointment, delight and tedium should also be expected.”
This astrological prose sums up the year of 1989 experienced by a twenty-four-year-old woman. Fortune Cookie is a diary-style novel, detailing the life of Robin, a marketing clerk for a publishing company, living in Montreal with her four friends in a two-story walk-up apartment. This book is a refreshing take on a young woman’s journey, one that encompasses the protests of the world to catalyze its heroine’s coming of age.
Robin is vicariously searching for something more in her life, and she knows that her marketing clerk job is not it. She sees standing by doing nothing as unfair justice. Her daily entries are at times interrupted with news headlines highlighting the political and social events of the year, including Tienanmen Square, the Chantal Abortion case, and the Montreal Massacre. Also mixed in are astrological musings loosely based on the Chinese calendar.
This book reminded me of the feeling I got when I decided to take action and become involved in my community around the issues that mattered to me. Robin experienced this same feeling while watching the Tienanmen Square protest and the abuse taken by police on television. Fortune Cookie is a novel that brought back memories of the No. 1 song of the week, like Milli Vanilli’s “Blame it on the Rain” and the Berlin Wall coming down. Towards the end of the year you get to find out what Robin decides to do at the start of the twentieth century, which is an amazing journey of self-discovery.