Volume 19 Number 4
The desire to be treated by others in terms of who you really are and not what you outwardly appear to be is a recurring theme in Blakeslee's writing. Joining Will to Win ¹ and Holy Joe (Stoddart, 1990) in exploring this topic is Hal, which focuses on the experiences of a blind seventeen-year-old, Halford Drucker, as he adjusts to entering grade 11 in a neighbourhood high school.
After losing his sight in a firecracker accident at the age of seven, Hal attended a school for the blind "back east," but his recent expulsion for disruptive behaviour means enrolling in a "regular" school. Adding to the normal fears associated with attending a new school is Hal's apprehension that his blindness will prevent his schoolmates from treating him as an "ordinary" guy. Ironically, as the plot progresses, those round Hal do not see his blindness while he cannot overlook it, and, consequently, Hal's own attitude to himself becomes his biggest handicap and repeatedly causes him to alienate those around him.
Other elements that will attract junior high readers include a pair of romance triangles, the "smothering" behaviours of Hal's overprotective parents, and Hal's younger brother's confusion over his role in Hal's being blind.
Dave Jenkinson, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB.
¹ Reviewed vol. XVI/6 November 1988, p.211.
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