CM . . .
. Volume IX Number 7 . . . . November 29, 2002
The Hemingway Tradition is one of a series of short high interest novels for teenagers who are just beginning to be attracted to reading. Although the short length of these novels prevents much detailed attention to character and setting, Butcher does a good job of creating the contemporary high school scene in Winnipeg. Shaw's emotional pain is clearly developed, and the descriptions of Tess and Jai are excellent. This story is told in the first person, although through dialogue the reader sees Shaw's mother's deep love for her son and husband. It does strain adult credulity to see Shaw's mother deal so calmly with her husband's gruesome, messy death, but that will not be the focus for any teenager who reads this book.
The clear theme of the pain of prejudice for the victims, be it on the basis of race or sexual orientation, will appeal to today's activist teens. It's interesting to note that these themes could not have been addressed so directly only a few short years ago.
Joan Marshall is the teacher-librarian at Fort Richmond Collegiate in Winnipeg, MB.
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