Not With a Bang

FIC Sobat, Gail Sidonie. Not With a Bang, Magpie Books, 2012. 120 pp., pb. ISBN 978-1-926794-12-9. $14.95.

Jan is a 17 year old kid in trouble with the law. Al is a feisty senior. They have been paired together because Jan must serve community service hours in a seniors’ residence after pleading guilty to a marijuana possession offence. The two initially resent each other. Gradually Al becomes less curmudgeonly and more of a mentor and father-figure to the young delinquent. Jan comes to view other possibilities with the old man’s guidance and his own re-framing of a series of bad dreams. He learns the value of compassion and decency as part of successful human relationships. Jan chooses to leave behind his unsavoury past, and falls in love with young Jodi, books, ideas, and writing, all because of Al’s influence. Then he learns of Al’s terminal cancer, and he resolves to be bodyguard to Al. Thus – one life ends, and another begins.

This is a well written book that holds the interest of the reader. It treats sensitive subjects with understanding and empathy and shows how many seemingly unsolvable problems can be solved. It demonstrates that generation gaps can be bridged and all people have talents that can be developed.

Recommended for secondary libraries.

Recommended grade level – 9-12 Date: July 2013
Reviewer’s Name:  Rosemary Anderson Position:  Retired Teacher Librarian
Institution:  W.L. McLeod Elementary School District:  91, Nechako Lakes