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John Buell

Toronto, Harper & Collins, 1990. 202pp, cloth, $19.95
ISBN 0-00-223581-1. CIP

Grades 11 and up/Ages 16 and up
Reviewed by Patricia J. Cooper.

Volume 18 Number 6
1990 November

John Buell, a native of Montreal and now professor emeritus at Loyola/ Concordia University, began writing radio and stage plays as a student.. His subsequent novels have all received critical acclaim.

A Lot to Make up for, Buell's fifth novel, compassionately portrays two young people bravely facing the consequences of drug and alcohol addiction, and an older man who has suffered a serious heart attack. Each has been brought by circumstances to search their inner selves for hidden strengths and the true meaning of being human. The novel's perspective shifts convinc­ingly among the three main characters. All characters, even minor ones, are well developed.

In this deftly Grafted novel, the well-paced action and understated suspense build to a satisfying, yet realistic, conclusion. Dialogue flows naturally and advances the plot. The themes are relevant and thought provoking. This excellent novel is marred only by an occasionally simplistic view of small­town people and the benefits of living close to nature, though the details and atmosphere of small-town life ring true.

The print is clear, the book well bound. Unfortunately, the dust cover, though symbolic, will not attract readers.

Patricia J. Cooper, Brampton Public Library, Brampton, Ont.
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