The Ripening: A Canadian Girl Grows Up by Lily Iona MacKenzie

Title: The Ripening: A Canadian Girl Grows Up
Author: Lily Iona MacKenzie
Genre: New Adult/Adult Coming of Age Novel
Release Date: October 15, 2021
Cover Design: Kelsey Rice



Sexual awakening can be messy business.
Tillie Bishop never knew her father, and when her mother abandons her, Tillie quickly becomes streetwise. Even in Calgary, forces of the coming 1960s—a decade of rebellion, discovery, and upheaval—are already at work within her. As a Canadian Girl in Training, she’s tried to follow their Christian guidelines, but she prefers to make up her own. She smokes cigarettes in the church bathroom during the group’s meetings and plays kissing games afterward with neighborhood boys. Barely a teenager, glamour becomes her new guiding star, and she fantasizes about a future of dating men and having sex.

At seventeen, during a stay in Toronto, she becomes a band groupie and throws herself into the “sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll” scene—just what she she’s been looking for. Then, seeking more adventure, she moves to San Francisco, drawn to its psychedelic night life, leading to a deeper downward spiral. However, Tillie’s grit and ability to face life’s challenges are inspiring, the seeds for later discovering her artist self.

Tillie takes readers on a wild ride through a period of riotous personal and cultural change. Join her if you dare!



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Tillie Bishop never knew her father. So when her mother abandons her, Tillie becomes streetwise. She’s tried to follow the Canadian Girl in Training’s Christian guidelines, but she smokes cigarettes in the church bathroom during the group’s meetings and plays kissing games afterward with neighborhood boys. Barely a teenager, glamour becomes her guiding star, and she fantasizes about dating men and having sex. Even in Calgary, forces of the coming 1960s—a decade of rebellion, discovery, and upheaval—are festering within her. At seventeen, during a stay in Toronto, she becomes a band groupie and throws herself into “sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll.” Then, seeking more adventure, she moves to San Francisco, drawn to its psychedelic night life, leading to a deeper downward spiral. But Tillie’s grit and ability to face life’s challenges are inspiring, the seeds for later discovering her artist self. Tillie takes readers on a wild ride. Join her if you dare!


A Canadian by birth, a high school dropout, and a mother at 17, in Lily Iona MacKenzie’s early years, she supported herself as a stock girl, as a long-distance operator, and as a secretary. She also was a cocktail waitress at San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotel, briefly broke into the male-dominated world of the docks as a longshoreman (she was the first woman to work on the SF docks and almost got her legs broken), founded and managed a homeless shelter in Marin County, co-created The Story Shoppe, a weekly radio program for children that aired on KTIM in Marin, and eventually earned two Master’s degrees (one in Creative writing and one in the Humanities).

She has published poetry, short fiction, and non-fiction in over 165 venues. She also has published three novels: Fling! (2015), Curva Peligrosa, (2017), and Freefall: A Divine Comedy (2019). A sequel to Freefall, The Ripening: A Canadian Girl Grows Up, will come out in October 2021. Her poetry collection All This was published in 2011, and her poetry chapbook No More Kings in 2020. She currently teaches creative writing at the University of San Francisco’s Fromm Institute for Lifelong Learning and blogs at http://lilyionamackenzie.com.



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