________________ CM . . . . Volume XII Number 5 . . . . October 28, 2005


Split. (SideStreets).

Lori Weber.
Toronto, ON: James Lorimer, 2005.
152 pp., pbk. & cl., $6.95 (pbk.), $14.95 (cl.).
ISBN 1-55028-878-4 (pbk.), ISBN 1-55028-879-2 (cl.).

Grades 7-10 / Ages 12-15.

Review by Georgie Perigny.

**** /4


I look out the kitchen window at the ever-present maple tree, which is just beginning to turn yellow. In a few weeks it’ll be a brilliant collage of orange and red. From here, it’ll look like it’s on fire. But soon after that, October winds will turn it into a skeleton of branches that thins out toward the tips, like an old bony hand reaching for the sky.

At least the tree has Mother Nature to guide it. I wish I could say the same. I can’t seem to get motivated enough to even think about what I want to do with the rest of my life. I feel as though I’m waiting for something to happen, for some sign to fall into my lap and guide me. My mother’s words, “I’ll be in touch soon,” still nag at me. Nine months is not my definition of soon. In that time she could have conceived, grown, and delivered me.


In a world filled with chaos and uncertainty, life is not easy for Sandra, a confused 17-year-old searching for a mother who has walked out on her. Sandra is left behind to deal with her alcoholic father as well as her own insecurities in life. There are many questions that are left unanswered.  Why did her mother leave her? What possesses her father to drink and not acknowledge his own daughter? What did she do to deserve this? How do you start looking for someone who does not want to be found? At first, Sandra is more concerned about getting on with her life and moving out on her own, but she soon realizes that she misses her mother and would appreciate the guidance and support that most mothers provide their children. 

     At a time when she needs her mother the most, Sandra finds herself alone and desolate. She begins to seek comfort in Danny, her long time neighbour, and together they begin to search for her mother. What she does not realize is that, while searching for her mother, Sandra unveils more than what she bargained for. She realizes that Danny has no ambition in life and is simply using her. She knows that she does not want to end up in a dysfunctional relationship and decides to end it with Danny. In one year, Sandra is forced to grow up and learn the hardships of life. However, the remarkable journey propels Sandra to discover her own insecurities and anxieties as she discovers the value of integrity and character from those around her.

      Split is a fascinating book about a young girl’s search for her mother as well as her own identity. The story is told in first person, and, as Sandra unfolds the tale, readers soon find themselves understanding the complexities of her life. The book leaves readers contemplating the ulterior motive for people’s actions and has them pondering the value of family and friendship.

     Lori Weber captivates her reader and keeps them entranced as she brings the characters to life in such a manner that readers can compassionately empathize with them. The issues that Sandra faces are real issues that troubled teens may be facing in their lives, and Split is a book that gives readers hope. A must in all libraries.

Highly Recommended.

Georgie Perigny has recently obtained her Bachelor of Education through the University of Alberta/Red Deer College Collaborative Degree Program.


To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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