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Jean Sonmor

Toronto, Macmillan, 1989. 96pp, paper, $14.95
ISBN 0-7715-9637-5. CIP

Grades 7 and up/Ages 12 and up
Reviewed by Michael Freeman.

Volume 18 Number 1
1990 January

Jean Sonmor, an award-winning Toronto sportswriter, turns her keen journalistic eye to the brief but spectacu­lar career of one of professional hockey's superstars. Although only twenty-three, Lemieux has been in­volved in the cut-throat competition of organized hockey for seventeen years. With the full support of his close family, Lemieux has been able to handle adroitly most of the pressures created by years spent under the media spot­light.

Sonmor draws interesting parallels between the earlier erratic career of Guy Lafleur, the long shadow cast by the exploits of the peerless Wayne Gretzky, and the efforts of Lemieux to emerge from that shadow to win acclaim in his own right. Although Mario's career has featured overwhelming accomplish­ments, both team and individual at every level, the author does not omit the downside of Mario's life in professional hockey: the bitter, protracted contract negotiations, the ongoing personal attacks in the hockey press, and his severe disappointment at losing to Gretzky in the 1989 most valuable player voting. The reader, particularly the young hockey fan, is left with the valuable lesson that the life of a profes­sional athlete is not always a bed of roses - the thorns keep sticking through.

An added feature of this excellent sports biography is the superb photog­raphy interspersed throughout the text.

Highly recommended.

Michael Freeman, Bathurst Heights S. S., North York, Ont.
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