LAWS OF EMOTION
Volume 21 Number 5
In eleven short stories and about 200 pages, young adult writer Alison Lohans manages to present several subjects that are important to young people: loyalty and friendship, death and loss, pain and acceptance.
In language that is appropriate and unsentimental, the stories range from the silly (in "Sarah and Alexandra" a girl's car is personified as her best friend) to the warmhearted ("Of Time and Teeth" describes a volunteer's experience with old age and death at a nursing home) to the suspenseful if slightly far-fetched (in "One Wasted Saturday" a paraplegic can better deal with his own loss after he drags himself out of a car in a blizzard to help another car accident victim). This last story would easily provide the basic premise for a full-length novel. I found myself wondering what happened before the car ride of the story and how it would be resolved... At any rate, the tone is sensitive and the impact is strong.
"Truce" is set in 1967 during the peace movement when one young person tries to comfort another whose brother has been killed in Vietnam. As we learn, however, the boy's devastation at the loss of his brother may be more than his friend can handle. Although it may be questionable whether today's youth will be able to identify with the Vietnam theme, there are certainly parallels to be drawn with current political crises.
Judy Baxter is the Temporary Extension Librarian with the Vancouver Island Regional Library in Nanaimo, British Columbia.
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