________________ CM . . . . Volume VI Number 10 . . . . January 21, 2000

cover Lefty Carmichael Has a Fit.

Don Trembath.
Victoria, BC: Orca Book Publishers, 1999.
215 pp., pbk., $7.95.
ISBN 1-55143-166-1.

Grades 7 and up / Ages 12 and up.
Review by Betsy Fraser.

*** /4


"Some seizures are brought on by severe knocks to the head. Some are brought on by high fever. But I don't see either of these as being the cause here. The seizures Lefty's been having have nothing to do with lifestyle or an accident or a fever. They just came entirely on their own."

Mom took in a deep breath and then let it out. She looked very relieved. Dad took his first breath in about half an hour.

"Thank you," she said, smiling a little. "This might sound funny, but I think I needed to hear that."

Lefty Carmichael scares everyone badly when he falls off the monkey bars and begins convulsing. Lefty, we find out, has epilepsy. He must undergo some lifestyle changes, including dealing with the reactions of friends, family and other people, the latter proving to be much more challenging. Lefty worries what will happen to him, how his life will have to change and how this will change his relationships. His mother worries that she caused this condition and is now terrified to let Lefty leave the house. The way that they learn to face and deal with these notions guides the rest of the book.

This is a valuable book. There are not many books that deal with epilepsy in a straightforward and honest fashion while tackling fears and misconceptions from several viewpoints. Epilepsy is a very scary disorder; not much is known about it, and it can be very frightening to onlookers. This book takes these factors and deals with them as just a part of Lefty's life. Epilepsy is something that Lefty has, rather than being a character trait which defines him. This book would be very useful for both kids with epilepsy and those who don't know much about it. Don Trembath presents a cast of amusing, well-rounded characters, one of whom has epilepsy.


Betsy Fraser is a librarian with Calgary Public Library in Calgary, AB.

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

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Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364