CM . . .
. Volume XII Number 14 . . . . March 17, 2006
year is 1959 and Rosalie Norman, 12-years-of-age, is smack dab in
the middle of a Halifax summer. She has an unusual family: an elderly,
overly strict mother, and five grown up siblings who themselves are
old enough to be her parents. Rosalie whiles away the hours doing
what she loves most: drawing, but when she accidentally leaves her
pencils on the staircase, her mother slips on one and breaks her leg.
It is then that Rosalie finds out that her beloved 17-year-old cousin, Johnny, has gone missing. As Rosalie and David begin to forge a friendship, they set out to solve the mystery behind Johnny’s disappearance. What Rosalie finds turns out to be very disconcerting. Johnny has run away and feigned his own death so that he might escape his alcoholic, abusive father -- Rosalie's uncle Ezra. In the end, Rosalie discovers that, in order to truly understand life’s complexities – those both beautiful and terrible -- one must be willing to let old perspectives die away.
in the first-person, Rosalie’s voice is bright, witty and in
the end, infinitely wise. The story moves forward in a meandering,
exploratory fashion that, in a sense, mimics the ethereal quality
of a summer afternoon. This may, however, cause a younger reader to
work harder than normal to understand who is who, and where each character
fits in terms of plot. Further “on-stage” presence of
Johnny and his family’s dynamic, perhaps, could have proven
to create more tension and emotional impact regarding his disappearance.
That said, with Johnny Kellock Died Today, Hadley Dyer brings
us characters who are full of life. Through her clean, evocative imagery,
Dyer renders a touching picture of Halifax in the 1950’s.
on this title or this review, send mail to email@example.com.
Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal
use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any
other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.