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Rule, Jane.

Toronto, Lester & Orpen Dennys, c1986. 242pp, paper, $12.95, ISBN 0-88619-077-0. CIP

Grades 11 and up
Reviewed by donalee Moulton-Barrett

Volume 14 Number 6
1986 November

A Hot-Eyed Moderate, Jane Rule's collection of articles and essays, is aptly named. Rule is at once passionate and committed, tolerant and understanding.

The essays, many of which have previously appeared in magazines like The Body Politic, Branching Out, and Room of One's Own, are divided into four sections: "On Writing," "Writing For The Gay Press," "Profiles and Recollections," and "Reflections." "Profiles and Recollections," although offering us insights into Rule's world, primarily demonstrate her innumerable strengths as a writer. The other three sections, while well written, provide the insight into Rule as a person, such as this paragraph from "An Act of God":

It is not the length but the quality of life that matters to me, more easily said now that I am over fifty. But it has always been important to me to write one sentence at a time, to live every day as if it were my last and judge it in those terms, often badly, not because it lacked grand gesture or grand passion but because it failed in the daily virtues of self-discipline, kindness, and laughter. It is love, very ordinary, human love, and not fear, which is the good teacher and the wisest judge.

There are minor annoyances in A Hot-Eyed Moderate: people are sometimes introduced without a full explanation of who they are (in some cases this information is provided in an eassay further along in the book); there are sometimes rough transitions from one subject/thought to another, as if perhaps the editor was on vacation that day; and, because Rule intrigues, captivates, and provokes, many of the essays seem to brief, fleshless. These are, however, merely wrinkles on an otherwise fresh, crisp, and inviting page.

donalee Moulton-Barrett, Halifax. N.S.
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