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Pelletier, Gérard.

Toronto, Methuen, c1984. 245pp, cloth, $24.95, ISBN 0-458-98270-9. CIP

Grades 11 and up
Reviewed by Kenneth A. Elliott

Volume 13 Number 4
1985 July

Another collection of a politician's memoirs has been born. Pelletier tells us the reason why he wrote his: to put on record his own testimony of the situations and events he has experienced. Globally, Pelletier sees himself as a link between Rene Levesque, Jean Marchand, and Pierre Trudeau. This theme is constantly woven throughout the work.

Each of the nine chapters, including an epilogue, highlights important political and social events in Quebec of which Pelletier was a part. His telling of the events is anecdotal, adding charm and sparkle to the story. The reader is afforded a rare opportunity to get behind the scenes and into the situation via an eye-witness account. The warmth, charm, humour, and frustration of the political movements hold the reader's interest from the start.

Pelletier's unique contribution in this work is the insight he has into the behaviour of Levesque, Marchand, and Trudeau. He goes to great lengths to describe their emotional and intellectual reactions to the events that were making Quebec what it is today. The struggle and movement of the province from a closed, self-centred, rural society to an open, other-centred, urban-industrial one is the core of Pelletier's memoirs. And, according to him, this movement from adolescence to adulthood is a process still going on. For that reason, Pelletier reserves the right to continue his reflections beyond 1960 in future volumes.

The Maurice Duplessis era of devastation in Quebec is described in detail. Duplessis's iron-handed rule, even on some Roman Catholic Church leaders, is enough to send chills up any conservative's spine.

The print, wide margins, and well-bound pages make this volume a welcome addition to any home or public library. The index of names makes for easy reference for anyone doing research. Pelletier's style is clear and unpretentious. Nevertheless, the price of the book may be prohibitive for all but public institutions.

Kenneth A. Elliott, Laval Catholic H.S., Chomeday, Que.
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