CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 18 . . . . January 13, 2012
How does a child negotiate relationships with adults and his or her peers? If a child is coping with the changes divorce brings to his or her world, what social skills does the child need to develop? In his book Two Minutes for Roughing, Joseph Romain explores a period of personal growth in young Lester Lewchuck's life.
There are bullies in Lester's life, Roddy and Lenny, whom Lester describes as Neanderthal Man and Peking Man respectively. There is also Lester's new friend, Mickey Tanaka, a female member of the Metro Cats hockey team that Lester will join. Mickey will both encourage and teach Lester many important lessons:
Mickey teaches Lester about keeping his balance in hockey and in his team relationships. When Lester takes a cheap shot at Roddy while playing hockey, Mickey scolds him:
Mr. Johnson, a neighbour and former hockey player, also teaches Lester lessons about hockey and life's harder lessons:
There are many important teaching points in this easy to read book. The insightful young reader may pause to reflect on the individuals in his or her life and the life lessons garnered from those individuals. The author uses hockey as an important and easily understood metaphor to explain life lessons to his young readers.
Told from Lester's perspective, the reader learns about his relationship with his parents:
The reader also learns that Lester is not doing as well in school as he should, but over time he works through his feelings and builds coping skills and honest open relationships with the people in his life. With the support of his family and friends, Lester learns from his mistakes, including almost being charged with arson, and all areas in his life improve.
Lester Romain imparts wisdom through the realistic situations and dialogue he creates for the reader. Two Minutes for Roughing is a worthwhile and entertaining read that has depth and humour.
A Toronto, ON, resident, J. Lynn Fraser is a freelance writer and editor.
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