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Bender, Urie A.

Winnipeg, Hyperion Press, c1984. 304pp, paper, $12.95, ISBN 0-920534-27-9. CIP

Grades 10 and up
Reviewed by A.L Florence and C.R. Brown

Volume 13 Number 3
1985 May

Raised in a strict, conservative mennonite community. Peter Rempel in his early years questions the taboos and the rationale for dictums handed down by his elders. In high school days, the conflict between his rebellious nature and his genuine desire to serve his God gradually leads to his perception of a gap between human institutions and human personal faith in god. Even after marriage and the birth of his children, he opts for a life of poverty and struggle to get his education at Mennonite Brethern Collegiate, Winnipeg, and the University of Alberta. Throughout these years, he counsels his fellow students in difficult or uncertain circumstances whenever they seek help.

Because of his background, personality, and up-bringing, he possesses the ability to relate to young people in trouble, the Youth Orientation Units (YOU) he established in the ranch country near Edmonton, provide a last chance for drug and alcohol abusers and boys who have run afoul of the law and society. His tough, no-nonsense approach is revealed through direct quotes from graduates of the YOU program. The volume is an account of the reclamation of lost youth in a permissive self-centred society. It shows one man with the strength and personal qualities to carry off this hard-line style.

Peter Rempel's story is told with sensitivity and warmth. The author perceives the cost to the family, but understands Peter's commitment. It is of particular interest to those aware of the unique success of the Mennonite Central Committee's world-wide program of services to humanity's self-help needs. It also reflects a tightly disciplined treatment for young offenders who have gone beyond the reach of most of society's regular rehabilitation institutions.

A.L Florence and C.R. Brown, Winnipeg School Division #1, Winnipeg, Man.
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