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Rooke, Leon
Toronto, McClelland & Stewart, 1992. 200pp, paper, $16.99, ISBN 0-7710-7713-0. CIP

Grades 12 and up/Ages 17 and up

Reviewed by Janice Vaudry-Carey

Volume 20 Number 5
1992 October

This collection of short stories by Leon Rooke, although well written, is not recommended for use at the high school level. Our children are today too often exposed to writings of a negative nature. While we should not shield them unnecessarily from the realities of the world we live in, we also need not overexpose them to its more sombre side.

In particular, I took issue with the short story "Want to Play House?" This story starts off innocently as simply a tale of two children playing house and then changes tone as the "wife," in an attempt to make the scenario more realistic, encourages her "husband" to use violence against her: "(The knife) is under those leaves down in the dirt, where the pretend-counter is. And while you're chasing me you pick up the knife and when you catch me you stab me a thousand times."

Literature should be used to educate as well as to spark the imagination of those who read it. Images such as this do neither. Rooke has an interesting writing style, but that is not enough to justify including Who Do You Love? on the reading list of a senior English class.

Janice Vaudry-Carey is a teacher at Bishop's College School in Lennoxville, Quebec

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