A Matter of Honour and Other Tales of Early Perth
Grades 10 and up / Ages 15 and up.
William Morris tore the handbill from the tree and crumpled it savagely in his hands. His dark eyes quickly took in the crowd gathering around the hastily erected hustings. Colourful bunting fluttered from the leafless trees, making them look like gaudily dressed matrons at a fall fair. The liquor was circulating freely, and minor tussles were already punctuating the throng. Morris's eye traced a trail of blood to a man sitting dazed on the side of the road. His nose was broken, and he seemed impervious both to the pain and the barrage of abuse being flung at him by his irate wife. There'd be a lot more blood spilt before the victor was declared, Morris thought abstractedly. (p. 82)The author used archival material in researching this book of a dozen tales of life in Perth, Ontario, during the first half of the 19th century. The result is a rather strange mixture of historical fact and fiction. Some of the stories are quite entertaining, but others seem of limited interest or importance . In most cases the archival material tends to be padded with too many (presumedly) fictionalized details (see the excerpt above) that neither further the story or are interesting in themselves.
This book may have a place in the high schools of the Perth area, but it is not a book that this reviewer would recommend for school purchase.
Recommended with reservations.
Irene Gordon is a teacher-librarian at Westdale Junior High School in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and currently co-editor of the MSLA JOURNAL published by the Manitoba School Library Association.
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Copyright © 1996 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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