CM . . . .
Volume VII Number 13 . . . . March 2, 2001
Victoria, BC.Destination Gold! is the story of 16-year-old Ned Turner and his family from Victoria during the Klondike Gold Rush. Ned decides to journey up to the Klondike and to join the many others who hope to strike it rich in gold. His hope is to find a successful gold claim, become wealthy and come back to Victoria to look after his mother and his 12-year-old sister, Sarah. However, Ned is gone for a long time. His search for gold leads to his being "taken" by gamblers and having to face the dangers involved in the long trip to Dawson City. A year later, with no word from Ned, Sarah's mother allows her to set off to look for her brother with another family that is going to the Klondike.
Lawson's Destination Gold! is somewhat disappointing. While Lawson's descriptions of Skagway, the Chilkoot Pass Trail, and Dawson City, plus the life and times of those pursuing the Klondike dream, are intriguing and realistic, plot development was somewhat hit and miss. For example, Sarah's search to locate Ned in the Yukon dragged on and on. At the same time, Lawson's sketchy treatment of Catherine, 16 and also a main character, was not enough to keep the reader engaged. However, Montana Jim Daley, the brutal gambler, enables Ned and Catherine to grow as characters and learn some tough lessons.
In summary, while Lawson definitely makes readers feel the time and emotional climate of the gold rush period, the plot is not exciting enough to sustain most middle years readers.
Recommended with Reservations.
Janet Wilson is a teacher-librarian at Stanley Knowles School in Winnipeg, MB.
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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.