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Bob Wake

Burnstown (Ont.), General Store Publishing, 1990. 215pp, $9.95, ISBN 0-919431-39-9
Distributed by General Store Publishing, 1 Main St., Burnstown, Ontario KOJ1GO. CIP

Grades 6 to 9/Ages 11 to 14
Reviewed by Margaret Mackey.

Volume 19 Number 2
1991 March

Level Ice is an action-packed under­dog-makes-good hockey story. Bud Alcott, a potential Montreal Canadien, is injured and winds up coaching a team of raw talent and no experience in a tiny town in northern Quebec. Starting from the bottom, they get to the finals of the highest amateur competition in Canada. Their best player is injured more than once and leaves his hospital bed to help win the semi-final, but without him they cannot win the championship. Winning in Quebec is their high point.

Bud himself narrates, within a very elaborate frame story. He includes anecdotes about life in rural Quebec a generation ago and a very sedate courtship story. The book has an old-fashioned feeling, which accords well with its account of old-time glories. The hockey is the best part of the book: characterization is simplistic and the rest of the plot is very thin. The com­plex social reaction to Bud's role as the outsider who has a big impact on rustic ways is not perceived or described in any depth.

There is much detailed play-by-play description. The last game in Montreal is unduly melodramatic, but the final chapter on the eventual destinies of the players is convincing.

Unfortunately, the book has large type but not nearly enough white space, so that the text almost disappears into the gutters. This design may deter potential readers.

Margaret Mackey, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alta.
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1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


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