CM . . .
. Volume XI Number 13 . . . . March 4, 2005
In this collection of eight short stories, award-winning Canadian author Jocelyn Shipley takes us back to the days of Bobby Vinton and the Beatles. A new outfit was red shorts and a carefully ironed gingham top. Bridesmaids chose dresses of mauve organdy with puffed sleeves and pink sashes. In the cover illustration and throughout the stories there are echoes of the 1960's era.
However, the book is much more than a trip down memory lane. The stories deal with coming-of-age issues which will strike a chord with modern teenage readers because they are so true to life and honest. Issues and themes are varied. As the narrator, Jill Summerfield, matures from a 13-year-old to an 18-year-old, we see how her relationship with her parents evolves. We watch her deal with the dating experience: crushes on boys and teachers, her first kiss, love and sex. In fact, Shipley touches on everything form death to wild girlfriends to push-up bras to religion!!
There is comedy and humour in most of the stories, although it is often rather dark. The eight stories are linked both by character and setting so readers truly feel a part of Jill's family and her wider circle of friends within her small Ontario town. Jill matures through out the stories and deals with all the pleasures and pains of the teenage years.
Sumach Press states that they are "publishers of dynamic feminist writing with a critical perspective." Certainly these are strong stories dealing with universal themes, and thus they should have wide appeal among teenage readers.
Ann Ketcheson is a former teacher of high school English and French and is currently the Teacher-Librarian at Peterborough Collegiate in Peterborough, ON.
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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.