________________ CM . . . . Volume XII Number 9 . . . . January 6, 2006


Bad Boy.

Diana Wieler.
Toronto, ON: Groundwood, 1989.
191 pp., pbk., $8.95.
ISBN 0-88899-083-9.

Grades 8-12 / Ages 13-17.

Review by Rita Rebizant.

**** /4


A hundred pounds. He wanted to be bench-pressing a hundred pounds. Fast at first, then slowing to a robot-like pace until the bar was so heavy it felt like someone was pushing back. But not stopping. Staring up at the ceiling, just like now, his shoulder sockets screaming and his stomach muscles tight enough to snap, sweat dribbling into his ears, the whole world sitting on that bar and the dim basement starting to sway thinking, oh, God ... I can't ... not again...

"Come on, A.J.! Ten more. You can do it!"

He jerked, and the softball flipped awkwardly out of his hand. It hit the bureau, then bounced once or twice before it rolled to the wall.

A.J. sat up, his heart pounding. His eyes were fastened on the door. It couldn't be, he wouldn't dare ... Moments passed and the door stayed shut. The creaky stairway was silent.

A.J. lay shakily back on the floor again, and draped his arm across his eyes. They burned. His whole body burned, as if he really had been fighting under a hundred pounds of iron.

Get away from me, he pleaded with the ghost. Get the hell away from me.


A.J. Brandioso finally made the AAA Cyclones hockey team. In a town where there is not much to do in the cold, unforgiving prairies during the winter months, hockey is the center of the social world. Tully Brown has been A.J.'s best friend for the last three years, and when they both make the team, they are thrilled. More than once, however, A.J. is subtly and not so subtly, reminded that he is considered a marginal player, which means that he has to work extra hard to stay on the team. His desire to become NHL material is overshadowed by his coach's instructions to become a heavy hitter, making him known around town as the "Bad Boy."      

     A.J. and Tully have both worked really hard for this second chance, both having been cut the previous season, and they have spent many hours pushing weights to strengthen and tone their bodies to be fit and lean enough to play a higher level of hockey. In a world where machoism reigns supreme, the toughest and the fastest will rule the ice. But all of this comes crumbling down around A.J. when he happens upon Tully in a most compromising position and the friendship that he holds so dear threatens to choke the life out of him. How does a seventeen-year-old boy deal with homosexuality in the most confusing time of adolescent sexual identity?

     Winner of Canada Council's Governor General's Literary Award in 1989, Bad Boy still hits the raw nerves of homosexuality, but it does so via a sensitive, adolescent innocence.


Highly Recommended.

Rita Rebizant is an Educational Assistant in Hanover School Division and a teacher candidate in the B.Ed. program at the University of Manitoba.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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