Volume 21 Number 4
Clearcut Danger is a thought-provoking and realistic story about the impact of a proposed pulp and paper mill upon a small, depressed community. The story is written in the first person, and the reader sees both the economic and environmental issues confronting the town of East Harbour through the eyes of Ryan Cooper.
Initially, Ryan, like many others, only considers the job prospects that a pulp and paper mill will bring to his life. However, Alana, his Micmac girlfriend, strongly opposes the mill for environmental reasons and because it is going to be constructed on sacred Micmac land. Because of Alana's arguments and strength to stand up against the majority for what she believes, Ryan reconsiders and gradually sees that the environment will be irreparably damaged with the arrival of the mill.
Alana's and Ryan's fears are intensified by the many unanswered questions about the proposed mill they discover in the official environmental study. Their campaign against the mill leads them into the middle of a fight that threatens to split their community.
While the environmental arguments against the proposal are given greater weight by Choyce, the economic considerations are represented quite clearly by Ryan's own father, an employee at another pulp and paper mill. Choyce has succeeded in demonstrating the many forces at work within a community faced with such a prospect.
This is definitely an excellent addition to any library collection. It would make a fine starting point for classroom study of environmental issues. Children with reading abilities from grade 5 up should enjoy this thought-provoking and suspenseful (the ending is not what the reader might expect) story of the effect two concerned teenagers can have upon their community's future.
Gillian Martin Noonan is a teacher-librarian living in Old Perlican, Newfoundland.
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