News and Interviews

The WAR Series: Writers as Readers, with Christina DeRoche

Christina DeRoche

Christina DeRoche and Ellie D. Berger are the editors of The Parent Track: Timing, Balance, and Choice in Academia (Wilfrid Laurier University Press), which examines the intersection between parenthood and academia and how parenthood impacts academic careers.

While more flexible workplaces have emerged in some industries, academics (like many workers) continue to face challenges as they balance work and family obligations. The Parent Track expands on previous research by examining the parenting lives of academics from diverse genders, ages, races, marital statuses, and sexual orientations, engaging with intersectional narratives. 

We welcome Christina to Open Book today to talk about her writing life through the lens of reading, as part of our WAR Series: Writers as Readers. She tells us about early encounters with Atwood, her feelings on re-reading, and what's next on her reading list. 

The first book I remember reading on my own:

Charlotte’s Web, but not really sure. I have loved books since I was a toddler. The first set of books I remember reading on my own as a teenager was the Sweet Valley High series.

A book that made me cry:

Atonement, though others have. The movie also made me a cry.

The first adult book I read:

Margaret Atwood’s Cat’s Eye, I have loved Margaret Atwood ever since. I am a big fan of her writing and her poetry. I would love to finally see the screen version of The Handmaid’s Tale.

The book I have re-read many times:

None - I don’t re-read books because I am too excited to begin something new.

A book I feel like I should have read, but haven't:

None - if I want to read it, it is on my shelves or I am borrowing it from the library.

The book I would give my 17-year-old self, if I could:

A booked based on development of leadership skills - though as a 17-year-old I don’t think I would have understood or have gotten as much meaning as I would now.

A book I feel strongly influenced me as a writer and why:

None but two authors have influenced my thinking and approach to life: Margaret Atwood and Philippa Gregory. 

The best book I read in the past six months:

Parenting books - ha! Currently am reading two books: The Thirteenth Tale and The Bishop... both very good and both are finds I discovered at my local library.

The book I plan on reading next:

Inferno by Dan Brown - because I love his books!

A possible title for my autobiography:

Mapping Your Destiny: Living through Chaos Theory. 


Christina DeRoche is an adjunct professor in the Department of Sociology at Nipissing University, North Bay. Her areas of research are special education, special needs, and family relations. She recently published an article on how parents seek out labels in education to afford opportunities for their children.

Ellie D. Berger is an associate professor of sociology at Nipissing University, North Bay. Her research focuses on age, gender, and work. She has published in the Gerontologist, Canadian Journal on Aging, Journal of Aging Studies, and Age Matters: Re-Aligning Feminist Thinking. She is the author of the forthcoming book, Ageism at Work: Negotiating Age, Gender, and Identity in the Discriminating Workplace.

Buy the Book

The Parent Track: Timing, Balance, and Choice in Academia

The Parent Track provides an in-depth understanding of parenting in academia, from diverse perspectives—gender, age, race/ethnicity, marital status, sexual orientation—and at different phases of a parent’s academic career. This collection not only arrives at a comprehensive understanding of parenthood and academia; it reveals the shifting ideologies surrounding the challenges of negotiating work and family balance in this context.  Earlier research on parenting has documented the ways in which women and men experience, and subsequently negotiate, their roles as parents in the context of the workplace and the home. Particular attention has been paid to the negotiation of familial and childcare responsibilities, the division of labour, the availability of family-friendly policies, social constructions of motherhood and fatherhood, power relations, and gender roles and inequality. Studies on the experience of parenthood within the context of academia, however, have lacked diversity and failed to provide qualitative accounts from scholars of all genders at varying points in their academic careers who have, or are planning to have, children. This book addresses that gap.