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Mitzi Dale
Toronto, Groundwood/Douglas & Mclntyre Children's Books, 1993.144pp, paper, $7.95
ISBN 0-88899-174-6. CIP

Grades 6 to 9/Ages 11 to 14

Reviewed by Margaret Mackey.

Volume 21 Number 4
1993 September

For a short book, this one certainly takes a long time to get going. Dale zigzags over the early stages of her heroine's life. We move back and forth between the very early days with mother and father, and the idyllic years when father and daughter on their own live in a spartan little caravan and Bryna doesn't even go to school. Dad betrays this life, however, when he suddenly and inexplicably falls in love with the frilly, over-domesticated and conventional Delores. Flashbacks and flash-forwards add complexity but not depth to the story.

Bryna's mother was a stuntwoman, and Bryna is determined to live up to her mother's reputation for bravery. As Bryna is the narrator, we get very little in the way of qualification or commentary concerning the hare-brained notions she dreams up in order to fulfill this ambition. Even more impor­tantly, we gain virtually no insight into what seems like dad's complete reversal of principle, habit and sense of priority the moment he meets Delores.

Coming from Mitzi Dale, this book is a disappointment. Very rich libraries might like to purchase it for fans of her other books, but it is not an essential acquisition.

Margaret Mackey is a Ph.D. student at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta.
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