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William H. Devries.

Fergus (ON), William H. Devries, n.d..
Distributed by the author, 250 John St., Fergus, ON, N1M1E9.
294pp, paper, $6.00.

Grades 6 and up.
Reviewed by Elaine Blakey.

Volume 11 Number 4.
1983 July.

Written by an author who has previously published two of his own works, Hubert is a self-published "folkstory," to use the author's own term. No accurate time frame is established for the story, but it seems to be set in the mid-fifties. The story takes place mainly in the Morris family home where Hubert Morris, the main character, is born and raised. The first few years of Hubert's life are described in infinite detail, taking up 168 of the 294 pages. The style of the writing is slow-moving, plodding through the details of each day, filling in the thoughts of the characters and explaining their thoughts and actions completely. The description is simple and straightforward, bluntly telling what the characters think and feel about the actions of other characters. Most of the action involves Hubert, his mother, his blind grandmother, and his father. A large number of younger and older brothers and sisters populate the story, but only the characters of two of them are developed enough to identify them as individuals. Kathy is the older sister who tries to help her mother carry the load of the family, who is in love with a respectable fellow, and who is raped by an unknown man shortly before she and her fellow decide to marry. Keith is the older brother who is irresponsible and always getting into trouble. He steals money from his employer and comes to Hubert for help. Another important character in the story is Karen, Hubert's first love, and eventually his wife. She is always loving, kind, and generous, forever reminding Hubert about the evils of money and "the need for a generous heart."

The moral lessons of the story are immediately evident, and frequently reiterated as the blind grandmother tells stories from the Bible, the minister visits, the doctor speaks to Ken about his apparent disregard for his family, and Hubert, his mother, and Karen, reflect on his actions and those of the members of his family.

The story seems to be written to instruct the young reader in the perils of growing to adulthood. However, the style and the length of the narrative would fail to capture and sustain the interest of a young adult accustomed to the sophistication of television movies and the subtleties of character development practised by well-known writers of teenage fiction.

The format of the book does not follow standard techniques. It has no title page. No publisher is listed. Frequent spelling errors and occasional grammatical errors are found in the text. Not recommended.

Elaine Blakey, Normandeau P. S., Red Deer, AB.
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