CM . . .
. Volume IX Number 14. . . . March 14, 2003
For a minute I wished I could tell her. She looked like she really cared. I wished I could tell her that I was scared I might never get to play hockey again, that my dreams of making the NHL were toast. I wanted to say that I was sick of everyone always thinking I was the bad guy. That I was tired of being stupid. That I hated the way my mother worked all the time and the way Arlie sneaked around with her boyfriend just so she wouldn't have to be alone. That I hated our stupid, smelly townhouse with litter in the front yard. That I want to be normal. A normal kid, with a normal family.
Jason struggles with his schoolwork, his anger, his family and his self esteem. He feels that hockey is his only way to success, and he associates his identity with his performance on the ice. Having just finished counseling for his bullying behaviour, Jason is devastated when he suspended from the league for accidentally hitting his check during a hockey game. He suspects he is being treated with undo severity, but his family is unable to help him fight for his right to play. His father is indignant and handles the situation in a counterproductive and confrontational way that makes more trouble for Jason, and his mother is always working. Unexpectedly, one of Jason's teachers helps Jason deal with his unjust treatment and extends a helping hand. Another boy, Zach, whom Jason used to pick on, has also decided to help Jason out. Jason begins to develop more confidence in himself as his friendships solidify through his ordeal.
Told in the first person, this tale is convincing and poignantly realistic. Bossley makes the reader deeply sympathize with Jason while not over dramatizing his circumstances and feelings. Although hockey is the central theme in the novel, it does not detract from the underlying meaning of the work - Jason's emotional development. Although, the book is part of a series that is clearly geared principally to boys, the book was a great read for a girl who has never played hockey and rarely watches it!
Well written and well paced, this book is excellent for the young hockey fan and a great selection for even the "un-hockey" fan.
Christina Neigel is the Instruction Librarian for the University College of the Cariboo in Kamloops, BC.
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