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Jean-Marie Poupart

Montreal, La courte echelle, 1991. 155pp, paper, $7.95
ISBN 2-89021-150-9. CIP

Grades 7 and up/Ages 12 and up
Reviewed by Patricia Cooper

Volume 20 Number 1
1992 January

This novel continues the exploits of Alex, first introduced in Le nombril du monde and followed by Libre comme l'air (both La courte echelle, 1990).

Perhaps that is why I had some difficulty in the beginning sorting out the characters and following the plot. Not that there is much of a plot. The story consists of a series of short letters Alex writes, from July 28 to September 30, to his godmother, Irene, who is living in Paris.

He confides his thoughts on adoles­cence, friendship, boy-girl relationships, and family relationships, which reach into three generations. He reveals his confusion and pain over a friend's recent death of leukemia, and the end of an important relationship in his god­mother's life. He shares his embarrass­ment and concern over his grand­mother's drinking problem.

This is a touching portrait of an adolescent boy, told with a gentle ironic humour and empathy. It is recom­mended for purchase by libraries that already have the first two novels. Others should consider buying the whole series. It is sure to appeal to thoughtful readers wishing to look at adolescence from a male perspective.

Recommended for francophone and Immersion students.

Patricia Cooper, Brampton Public Library, Brampton, Ont.
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