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William Bell.
Toronto, ON: Doubleday Canada, 1992.
208pp., galley, $14.00.
ISBN 0-385-25379-6. CIP.

Subject Headings:
Abandoned children-Fiction.
Fathers and sons-Fiction.

Grades 7-9 / Ages 12-14

Reviewed by Anne Louise Mahoney.

Volume 20 Number 4
1992 September

After Steve ("Wick") Chandler's father leaves the family, Wick receives a postcard from him every month. There's no return address, and no signature: just "DAD" stamped on the back. When Wick's mom finds him angrily ripping up the cards, she starts throwing them out before he can see them.

But one day, when he's eighteen, he gets the mail first. He finds another "DAD" postcard, and goes in search of his father. During a short trip to Thunder Bay, the two slowly form a relationship. The painful secret that forced Wick's father to leave his family is revealed; as a result, Wick's resentment and bitterness lead to forgiveness and respect. This is an honest, engaging novel that concentrates on character development rather than plot. As always, William Bell focuses on relationships - in this case, Wick's relationship with his father, his mother and his best friend (who has his own painful secret). The story, which Wick narrates, unfolds through a series of flashbacks. The reader sees Wick at various moments in his life, and grows to understand his anger at his father and his own decision to distance himself emotionally from potentially painful situations.

This is a well-crafted story with plenty to offer young adult readers.

Anne Louise Mahoney is a freelance editor in Ottawa. ON.
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