CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Marilyn Halvorson.
Toronto, ON: Irwin, 1985.
222pp., paper, $9.95.
ISBN 0-7725-523-9. CIP.

Subject Headings:
Fathers and sons-Fiction.
Mothers and sons-Fiction.
Single-parent families-Fiction.

Grades 7-9 / Ages 12-14

Reviewed by Barbara Conquest.

Volume 14 Number 3
1986 May

Red Cantrel and Lance Durcharme are fifteen-year-old, wise-cracking best friends, and each has a secret that affects his life profoundly. Red's brother lies in a Calgary hospital a vegetable, as the result of a drug overdose. This tragedy has strained family relationships close to the breaking point; Red and his father are almost completely estranged. Lance's mother is now a country singing star, but Lance feels her fame is at his expense; she left him and his father ten years ago, driven by ambition that negated mother-love, or so he feels.

As these secrets inevitably surface and affect day-to-day life, both boys, but Lance in particular, are pushed beyond endurance to uncharacteristic actions. Exhibiting true friendship and unusual maturity for a fifteen-year-old, Red is able to overcome Lance's anger and confusion and avert what could have been a catastrophic end to their friendship and their future.

This is an excellent book. As well as recounting an absorbing and exciting story. the author exhibits love of, and knowledge about, rural life; her descriptions of the foothills country could make an exiled westerner weep. She displays an accurate ear for adolescent speech and more; her characters can be as breezy and likeable as Bruno and Boots of Macdonald Hall fame, but display infinitely more depth. Even minor characters are clearly delineated and believeable. A third young adult novel by Marilyn Halvorson is eagerly anticipated by this reader.

Barbara Conquest, D.S. MacKenzie School, Edmonton, AB.
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