CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Wallace, Bronwen.

Ottawa, Oberon Press, c1985. 87pp, paper, ISBN 0-88750-570-8 (cloth) $17.95, 0-88750-571-6 (paper) $9.95.

Grades 11 and up
Reviewed by Pat Bolger

Volume 13 Number 5
1985 September

Winner of the 1984 Pat Lowther Memorial Award, Bronwen Wallace is mother of a ten-year-old son, survivor of a failed marriage, and counsellor in a centre for abused wives, if one may deduce from the twenty-five poems in this collection. Her outlook is predictably feminist, but far from the militants' stance, with its denunciations of male chauvinistic pigs. "Melons at the Speed of Light," "Woman at the Next," and "How It Will Happen" enable the reader, along with Wallace, to identify with their female subjects. The longest of the poems, "Dreams of Rescue," deals with a woman's reactions on learning that her younger sister has been a victim of family violence. Although her subjects carry heavy emotional weight, Wallace avoids stridency, even using an ambiguous "you" instead of "I" and a conversational tone which lapses at times into dull prose.

In school libraries, Common Magic will provide very useful background for courses that deal with family violence. In public libraries, it will appeal primarily to women, which is a pity, as most men would be receptive to the view of life that Wallace conveys with understated passion.

Pat Bolger, Renfrew C.I., Renfrew, Ont.
line indexes


1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


The materials in this archive are 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 information for reviewers

Young Canada Works