Barbara Stewart

An inspiring tale of recovery at the library

An ordinary woman who hit rock bottom and survived to tell the tale

Barbara Stewart is extraordinary, not because of the heights she’s reached, but because she is an ordinary woman who hit rock bottom and survived to tell the tale.

Join Stewart at the Campbell River Library on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. to hear her read from Campie, a beautifully written memoir that reveals her inspiring journey of recovery.

Stewart was living an average life as a single mother supporting her family. She shopped organically and owned her house.

A few missteps later, she was bankrupt and alone, a progression of events that’s revealed in snippets and letters as Campie unfolds. To find a way to eat and put a roof over her head, she took a job in Alberta’s oil fields.

Campie is a snapshot of life in an oil-rig camp: an isolated portable trailer located off a frozen, unmarked road. The camp attendant, or “campie 333” is the lowliest position in camp — and when the work is done, there’s no where to go.

The men on the rig eat, sleep and party. For a woman 17 years sober and trying to stay that way, it’s a challenging environment. Now 25 years sober, she has worked as a loan officer, house cleaner, nail girl and furniture salesperson. In 2010, at age 56, she completed a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from the University of Victoria. Stewart’s articles have appeared in numerous literary journals and in the anthology called Best Canadian Essays 2011. She was also shortlisted in the CBC Literary Awards competition for non-fiction. Campie is Barbara’s first book.

“If you liked The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, then I highly recommend Campie,” raved a GoodReads reviewer. “If you enjoyed Eat Pray Love, here is a grittier voyage of discovery for the real world.”

For more information contact Elizabeth Johnson at the Campbell River Library at 250-287-3655. The library is located at 1240 Shoppers Row.

This is a free program and all are welcome.