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Marilyn Halvorson.

Toronto, ON: Clarke, Irwin, 1984.
137pp., paper, $8.95.
ISBN 0-77091-445-O. CIP.

Grades 5-9 / Ages 10-14

Reviewed by Enid Dorward.

Volume 12 Number 6
1984 November

"Cowboys don't cry," Shane's mother used to tell him, and he always tried to remember that for her sake. Fourteen-year-old Shane Morgan had spent most of his life on the rodeo circuit while his father, Josh, rode bulls. Josh's drinking caused an accident that killed Shane's mother when the boy was only ten. Since that time his drinking problem had worsened to the point that it interfered with his bull riding, and he had to work as a rodeo clown. Their life had been unstable and often unhappy, but Shane hoped that things would improve when they moved to a small Alberta ranch that had been left to him by his grandfather. This story tells of the beginning of their life on the ranch and Shane's entry into the nearby school. It was not long before Josh gave in to the temptation to make one more attempt at bull riding at a rodeo. He won the event, and with his prize money he bought Shane a motorbike, even though they needed groceries and other necessities. Josh got a job and tried to quit drinking, but one night he came home extremely drunk, and, after the confrontation that followed, Shane fled on his motorbike. He collided with a car and was badly hurt. His father, filled with remorse, disappeared, so neighbours looked after Shane when he was released from the hospital. In a dramatic ending, Shane and Josh were reunited, and both cowboys did cry when they discovered they really loved and needed each other. The ending of the story is not the happily-ever-after variety, but it is a hopeful one.

Canadians should be proud of this author who has produced a powerful novel about a teenager and his father and the problems in their relationship. The story has plenty of action, genuine emotions, a touch of romance, and a western Canadian setting that is integral to the story. This book is highly recommended and deserves a place in every library used by pre-teens and young teens.

Enid Dorward, Winnipeg, MB.
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