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Edited by Bonnie Burnard. Moose Jaw. Coteau Books, c1986. 350pp, paper. $4.95, ISBN 0-919926-56-8. CIP

Grades 12 and up
Reviewed by Barbara J. Graham

Volume 15 Number 2
1987 March

What a delightful surprise to discover this refreshing collection of short stories by thirty authors who may not be totally familiar (o the average reader of Canadian fiction. What anticipation for the future. The editor has mixed together a potpourri of entertainment that will amuse and challenge. The love theme always has the potential to please; there will not be much disappointment here. The editing has been thoughtful. The characters are people for whom we can care and empathize. They may frustrate us, but we can understand their concerns; many of them arc ours. The stories do unite thematically as characters search for meaningful connections. Several lead back to childhood and the significance of seemingly inconsequential events. In "Song of Willow," by Merna Summers, young Barbara becomes disillusioned with her adored Uncle Billy who really never understood her as she thought he did. In "April," Anne Campbell poignantly describes a young girl on the brink of adolescence trying to understand the perplexing feelings connecting her to a teacher. Other variations on the love theme explore an adolescent crush, children and parents, the global family, the despair of loneliness, husbands and wives, and friendships, often within distinctly Canadian settings, urban, rural, west, and east.

Busy readers will enjoy the brevity of stories read quickly and reflected upon at leisure. While senior high school students will find pleasure in stories mirroring a variety of their own experiences, they may find marital disharmonies of the middle-aged boring and not relevant to them. Strong language, when used, is appropriate to the circumstances and characters. Those who are able to read all thirty stories in a short period of time will feel enriched by the variety and scope of the total experience.

Barbara J. Graham, Board of Education for the City of London, London, Ont.
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