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BY-PASS

Tony Foster.

Toronto, Methuen, c1983.
251pp, cloth, $16.95.
ISBN 0485-96080-2.


Grades 11 and up.
Reviewed by John D. Crawford.

Volume 11 Number 5.
1983 September.


This is an episodic piece of autobiographical writing focusing largely on recent events in the author's life. The chief of these is a triple by-pass operation, which, with its complications, is described graphically. There is also a commentary on events which led to Foster's being sentenced to prison terms in both the United States and Canada.

Foster has also written novels, and this book is written in an entertaining style that conveys much of the excitement of action-packed fiction. In the course of the book, much factual information is given, which rather than slowing down the narrative, adds to our interest. A good example of this is the description of the by-pass operation itself, which has the same effect on the reader as the operation in the film All That Jazz has on its audience. It is, in short, hypnotic.

The author comments, at length, on several interesting features of our society. His views on the justice system will be questioned by those who feel that criminals often receive more than their share of any benefits derived from doubt. The suggestion that "fully 10 per cent never committed the crime of which they were convicted" will not meet with wide agreement, although the author's contention that alternatives to incarceration are necessary in many cases will receive more sympathy. Foster's implication that he was among the "fully 10 per cent" unjustly convicted introduces a discordant note, as the reader is given very little on which to form an opinion.


John D. Craw ford, Frank Hobbs E. S., Victoria, BC.
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