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Finder, Leslie Hall
Toronto, Lester & Orpen Dennys, 1990. 256pp, cloth, $24.95, ISBN 0-88619-239-0. CIP

Grades 10 and up/Ages 15 and up

Reviewed by Jo Anna Burns Patton

Volume 18 Number 5
1990 September

During this particular time in Canadian history, On Double Tracks is a most relevant book on the general subject of native land claims. The story revolves around two main characters, Lawyer Megan Strichlan, defending the native land claims, and Judge Selbie, who is about to retire. Strichlan and Selbie are similar in that they both seem to be inflexible in their beliefs, but the real conflict comes when these two headstrong characters collide.

Megan Strichlan is a very successful lawyer and a self-sufficient individual. The case for the Indians gives her an opportunity to "shine." Judge Selbie is completing a successful career and is unusually concerned with proving his competence. Author Leslie Finder provides incredible insight into the characters by taking the reader back through the childhoods of Strichlan and Selbie. The reader is thus able to see the history of the characters and understand how and why they've arrived at this particular place (the court room) at this particular time (native land claim trial). What is most interesting is the arrangement of the flash backs first Megan's life, then Judge Selbie's life as though the two lives were moving down double tracks, to collide in the courtroom.

Leslie Finder, a lawyer herself, has effectively captured the essence of court room drama, as well.

The title would be useful for discussion on various levels the justice system, the attitude towards women, the native land claim trials, to name a few. Although not a fast-paced book, it was certainly thought-provoking. A recommended title for senior school students.

Jo Anna Burns Patton, Miss Edgar's & Miss Cramps' School for Girls, Westmount, Que.

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