Goobie, Beth 1959–

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Goobie, Beth 1959–


Born 1959, in Canada. Ethnicity: "Nebulously whitish." Education: University of Winnipeg, B.A., 1983; attended University of Alberta, 1986-88.


Home—Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.




Edmonton Journal literary competitions, first prize for a long poem, 1987, for "just after i knew," and first prize for short fiction, 1990, for "Answers"; winner of radio writing contest, Canadian Broadcasting Corp. and Alberta Foundation for the Arts, 1991, for the radio play "Continuum;" prose poem award, Grain magazine, 1994, for "Permission"; R. Ross Annet Award, for best children's book in Alberta, Writers Guild of Alberta, 1995, for Mission Impossible; Pat Lowther Memorial Award, best book of poetry by a Canadian woman, League of Canadian Poets, 1995, for Scars of Light; Our Choice citations, Canadian Children's Book Centre, 1995, for Mission Impossible, 1998, for The Good, the Bad, and the Suicidal, 1999, for The Colours of Carol Molev, 2000, for The Dream Where the Losers Go, 2002, for Sticks and Stones, 2003, for Kicked Out, 2004, for Who Owns Kelly Paddik?; Joseph S. Stauffer Award for Literature, Canada Council, 1999; included in list of top ten poetry books Literary Network, 2000, for The Girls Who Dream Me; Saskatchewan Children's Literature Award, 2000, Young Adult Book Award, Canadian Library Association, 2001, included in teens' top ten list, American Library Association, 2001, and best book award, Pennsylvania School Library Association, 2004, all for Before Wings; included in Amelia Bloomer List, American Library Association, 2003, for Sticks and Stones; included in hardcover young adult fiction best of the year list, Kliatt, 2003, for The Lottery; American Library Association "quick pick" citations, 2003, for Sticks and Stones, 2004, for Kicked Out, and 2006, for Something Girl; Saskatchewan Children's Literature Awards, 2004, for Flux, and 2005, for Fixed; listed among "books for the teen age," New York Public Library, 2005, for Flux; included in White Ravens List, International Youth Library, Munich, Germany, 2007, for Hello, Groin.


Could I Have My Body Back Now, Please? (poetry and short stories), NeWest (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada), 1991.

Continuum (radio play), Canadian Broadcasting Corp., 1992.

Dandelion Moon (two-act play), produced in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, at Catalyst Theatre, 1992.

Scars of Light (poetry), NeWest (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada), 1994.

Black Angels (screenplay), Cynthia Wells Productions (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada), 1996.

Janine Fowler Did It (one-act play), produced in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, at Guelph Collegiate Vocational Institute, 1997.

The Only-Good Heart (novel), Pedlar Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1998.

The Face Is the Place (one-act play; first produced in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, at Guelph Collegiate Vocational Institute, 1998), Blizzard Publishing (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada), 2000.

The Girls Who Dream Me (poetry), Pedlar Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1999.

Work represented in anthologies, including Under NeWest Eyes, Thistledown Press (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada), 1996; Vintage 1997-1998, League of Canadian Poets (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1998; Ice: New Writing on Hockey, Spotted Cow (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada), 1999; A Long Life of Making: Poems from the Pat Lowther Memorial Award Winners, Gynergy Books (Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada), 2000; and 2000% Cracked Wheat, Coteau Books (Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada), 2000. Contributor of poetry, short stories, and articles to periodicals, including Fireweed, Prairie Fire, Secrets from the Orange Couch, Canadian Woman Studies, Capilano Review, Descant, Fiddlehead, Malahat Review, Prism International, and Canadian Review.


Group Homes from Outer Space, illustrated by Wes Lowe, Maxwell Macmillan Canada (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1992, published as Something Girl, Orca (Custer, WA), 2005.

Who Owns Kelly Paddik?, illustrated by Greg Ruhl, Maxwell Macmillan Canada (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1993.

Hit and Run, illustrated by David Craig, Maxwell Macmillan Canada (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1994.

Sticks and Stones, illustrated by Greg Ruhl, Maxwell Macmillan Canada (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1994.

Mission Impossible, Red Deer College Press (Red Deer, Alberta, Canada), 1994.

Kicked Out, Prentice-Hall (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1995.

I'm Not Convinced, Red Deer College Press (Red Deer, Alberta, Canada), 1997.

The Good, the Bad, and the Suicidal, Roussan (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1997.

The Colours of Carol Molev, Roussan (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1998.

The Dream Where the Losers Go, Roussan (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1999.

Before Wings, Orca (Custer, WA), 2001.

The Lottery, Orca (Custer, WA), 2002.

Flux, Orca (Custer, WA), 2004.

Fixed, Orca (Custer, WA), 2005.

Something Girl, Orca (Custer, WA), 2005.

Hello, Groin, Orca (Custer, WA), 2006.


Beth Goobie is a Canadian writer who has produced poetry and fiction for both adult and young adult readers. In her first book, Could I Have My Body Back Now, Please?, Goobie presents both poems and short stories in which physical distortion and, in some cases, dismemberment figure as recurring motifs. In one work, an irate woman's wagging finger separates from her hand. In another tale, a male character repeatedly loses his sex organ. Still another work includes a child whose ears stretch and slide under closed doors to hear conversations. Joan Thomas, writing in Books in Canada, called Could I Have My Body Back Now, Please? a volume "of startling originality," describing it as "a noteworthy first collection." Another reviewer, Aritha Van Herk, called Goobie's book, in a University of Toronto Quarterly assessment, "a pleasure to read," and a Bloomsbury Review critic described it as a "cohesive collection."

Goobie's subsequent books of poetry include Scars of Light, in which, as Rhea Tregerov reported in the University of Toronto Quarterly, she "tells the story of the physical, emotional, and sexual abuse that occurred within her apparently ‘ordinary’ family." Tregerov acknowledged Scars of Light as "chillingly powerful." Books in Canada reviewer Marlene Cookshaw also found favor with the book, which she described as a "harrowing journey … into the details of [Goobie's] abusive childhood." Lisa A. Dickson wrote in Canadian Book Review Annual 1994 that Scars of Light "offers us no platitudes, and demands none."

The poetry collection The Girls Who Dream Me deals, like Scars of Light, with Goobie's earlier abuses, but shows evidence of healing. An article in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix quoted Goobie's description of the book: "The book does talk about the difficult stuff, but it's also very much about the joy in the recovery of the ability to have sensual experiences…. Writing is healing for me." In her collection, Goobie challenges the adult condemnation of teenage sexual exploration, as well as many of the moral assumptions defined by Christianity. A contributor to Letters in Canada wrote of Goobie's poetry, "Her long lines nearly spill off the page, reaching to the margins with an insistence, an energetic arcing, that pulls poetry towards prose, prose towards poetry."

Goobie also chronicles abuse in The Only-Good Heart, a novel about a woman's grim experiences in a cult, including prostitution and murder. Quill & Quire reviewer Suzanne Methot summarized the novel as "a complex, multilayered exploration into suffering and survival," and she deemed it "a brave rendering of one woman's struggle to heal." A Suite 101 critic, meanwhile, observed that The Only-Good Heart is "drawn partially on [Goobie's] own experiences." In the same issue of Suite 101, Goobie expressed hope that The Only-Good Heart "would create a greater awareness in general for people in terms of cults and what they are doing." While calling the novel "Goobie's most difficult and challenging work," Thomas S. Woods of the Toronto Globe and Mail did not consider this a criticism; he praised, "I know of no young writer in Canada capable of crafting subtle imagery and delicate phrasing to compare with that found in Goobie's arresting poetry and prose…. Goobie's work is … starkly, almost self-consciously, original, strewn here and there with the telling detritus (much of it human) of modern popular culture."

Goobie's publications for young adult readers include Group Homes from Outer Space, about a girl who longs for space aliens to rescue her from abusive parents. A Canadian Materials reviewer described this work as a "fast-paced, well-told story," and a Quill & Quire critic found the book "rewarding." Who Owns Kelly Paddik? relates the struggles of a teenage girl running from her sexually abusive father. Patty Lawlor, writing in Quill & Quire, called this book "a solid … offering."

Another young adult volume, Hit and Run, features a teen heroine plagued with guilt after she drunkenly commits a hit-and-run driving offense, while Sticks and Stones presents a girl who is unfairly regarded as promiscuous by her classmates. Darlene R. Golke, reviewing both Hit and Run and Sticks and Stones in Canadian Book Review Annual 1994, noted that "the plots of both books develop quickly." But Fred Boer, assessing both works in Quill & Quire, favored Sticks and Stones, which he singled out for its "hard-hitting, effective ending."

Mission Impossible relates the problems that ensue when a student protests against a school pageant by refusing to shave her legs. Mary Beaty, in her Quill & Quire critique, called Mission Impossible "an intelligent book," and Dean E. Lyons, in the Kliatt Young Adult Paperback Book Guide, described the book as "tough yet sensitive." Jean Free summarized the volume in a Canadian Book Review Annual 1994 analysis as "clever, witty, often satirical, and humorous." Another work, I'm Not Convinced, concerns the relationship between a disabled Cree native and a teenage girl who was physically abused by her uncle. Harriet Zaidman wrote on the University of Manitoba Web site, "Beth Goobie has written a very warm and useful book for teens who need encouragement to find their inner strength and face their problems head on."

The Good, the Bad, and the Suicidal deals with a teenaged world divided into three categories: the Jocks, the Irregulars, and the Leftovers. The Jocks and the Irregulars are rival gangs—the former made of teenagers with money, the latter of teenagers without. Dariel, the narrator, is a Leftover, one of those not a member of either gang, who classifies herself as SWFF: "Single White Fat Female." Dariel finds herself becoming involved in the fight against a citywide curfew imposed on the local teenagers, drawing the attention of the leaders of both gangs. Quill & Quire reviewer Theresa Toten characterized the heroine as "straight up and hilarious" and noted the "entertainment value of spending some time with [her] and her small world." Steve Pitt described Goobie's tale, in Canadian Book Review Annual 1997, as a "gritty book." Jacolyn Caton of the Regina Sun noted, "Strong characterization and plot are two of the trademarks of [Goobie's] writing." Sarah Ellis wrote in Horn Book magazine: "The Good, the Bad, and the Suicidal is a splendid book."

In The Colours of Carol Molev, a teenage girl discovers the presence of colorful energy zones that render her capable of extraordinary insights. Through her relationship with Rev, who can read minds, Carol learns how to use her own abilities to confront the powers of darkness. Bridget Donald wrote in Quill & Quire that The Colours of Carol Molev lacked sufficient "depth and consistency," but Susannah D. Ketchum, in a Canadian Book Review Annual 1998 appraisal, deemed the book "worthwhile."

Gobbie's next young adult novel, The Dream Where the Losers Go, deals with gangs, though in a different context than The Good, the Bad, and the Suicidal. Skey, the main character, is a sixteen-year-old sent to a lockup for adolescent girls after she tries to kill herself. Through the others she meets in the lockup, she begins to redefine the world she once knew so well, and begins to understand the importance of having someone to be there for you—and being there for them in turn.

In 2000, Goobie published the award-winning novel Before Wings, the story of fifteen-year-old Adrien, who suffered a brain aneurysm when she was thirteen. A second episode would be fatal, and now, practically smothered by over-protective parents, Adrien simply waits to die. Then, during a working vacation at her aunt's summer camp, Adrien sees the spirits of five girls dancing on a lake and meets Paul, a boy who is haunted by premonitions that he will die, and she begins to understand how important it is to simply live. Diana Masla, writing for Voice of Youth Advocates, wrote, "On the surface, this book is an entertaining adolescent read…. The deeper message, the whole-hearted grasping of love and life, surely will resonate with many teens." Mara Alpert, writing in School Library Journal, explained, "This could have been a terribly bleak and depressing book, but it isn't. Its engaging characters, realistic setting, and upbeat ending will satisfy teen readers." A Horn Book reviewer called Before Wings "the best kind of romance," and Brenda Dillon, writing for Resource Links, praised, "This book is good. Very, very good. Buy it, read it, recommend it."

Goobie told CA: "My writing is a search for meaning, beauty, love, an integration of my lost parts. Ultimately all of it, regardless of genre or topic, stems from my childhood and the basic patterns that formed me—occult ritual abuse, international child pornography and prostitution, mind-control programming that involved sophisticated medical techniques and technology, and the calculated polarization foisted onto a child through fundamentalist religion. Creativity, however, concerns me more than validation of historical fact; it is ultimately about healing, a recognition of the deeply human core ability to love and change that I encountered so often in children and adults trapped in similar circumstances. And so, whether I am writing about a fifteen-year-old girl recovering from a brain aneurysm and searching for her own desire to live, or censorship, child abuse, and sexual orientation, it is my hope that the deepest truth of our collective existence as humans on this planet—that we are spirits who enter the limits of flesh in order to learn the lesson of tenderness—will resonate through every plot and character that I create. My goal as a writer is to leave my readers with a tangible sense of this tenderness, within the story or poem, within themselves, within the soul of the earth that is the very air they breathe."



Canadian Book Review Annual 1994, Canadian Book Review Annual (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1995.

Canadian Book Review Annual 1997, Canadian Book Review Annual (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1998.

Wilson, Joyce M., editor, Canadian Book Review Annual 1998, Canadian Book Review Annual (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1999.


Bloomsbury Review, September, 1992, review of Could I Have My Body Back Now, Please?, p. 20.

Booklist, March 15, 2001, Frances Bradburn, review of Before Wings, p. 1391.

Books in Canada, March, 1992, Joan Thomas, "Feelings in the Bone," p. 40; April, 1995, Marlene Cookshaw, "Patterns of Truth," pp. 55-56.

Canadian Materials, October, 1992, Edith Parsons, review of Group Homes from Outer Space, p. 272.

Globe and Mail (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), May, 1998, Thomas S. Woods, "Unconquerable Spirit Shines through Tale of Abuse."

Horn Book, November-December, 1998, Sarah Ellis, review of The Good, the Bad, and the Suicidal, pp. 773-774; March-April, 2001, review of Before Wings, p. 205.

Kliatt Young Adult Paperback Book Guide, January, 1996, Dean E. Lyons, review of Mission Impossible, p. 8.

Letters in Canada, 1998, review of The Girls Who Dream Me, pp. 216-218.

Quill & Quire, June, 1992, Anne Louise Mahoney, review of Group Homes from Outer Space, p. 36; June, 1993, Patty Lawlor, review of Who Owns Kelly Paddik?, p. 37; February, 1995, Mary Beaty, review of Mission Impossible, p. 36; March, 1995, Fred Boer, reviews of Hit and Run and Sticks and Stones, p. 79; April, 1997, Janet McNaughton, review of I'm Not Convinced, pp. 37-38; October, 1997, Theresa Toten, review of The Good, the Bad, and the Suicidal, pp. 37-38; May, 1998, Suzanne Methot, review of The Only-Good Heart, p. 30; October, 1998, Bridget Donald, review of The Colours of Carol Molev, pp. 43-44.

Regina Sun, June 14, 1998, Jacolyn Caton, "Real Teens; Real Problems."

Resource Links, December, 2000, Brenda Dillon, review of Before Wings, p. 28.

Saskatoon Star Phoenix, January, 2000, Verne Clemence, "Teenage Soul Explored."

School Library Journal, April, 2001, Mara Alpert, review of Before Wings, p. 140.

University of Toronto Quarterly, fall, 1992, Aritha Van Herk, review of Could I Have My Body Back Now, Please?, pp. 19-20; winter, 1995, Rhea Tregerov, review of Scars of Light, pp. 66-67; winter, 2000, Marnie Parsons, review of The Girls Who Dream Me.

Voice of Youth Advocates, April, 2001, Diane Masla, review of Before Wings.


Suite 101, (March 24, 2000), Paula E. Kirman, "Canadian Literature."

University of Manitoba Web site, (October 17, 1997), Harriet Zaidman, review of I'm Not Convinced.