Leper Dance

At first, I found this teenage-crafted novelette a little too “I’m a teenager.” It’s not that I don’t like teens or their work-I love taking my kid to the bookstore youth section so I can devour the latest teen goodness. But when I picked up Sutherland’s novelette, I had trouble at first with her voice, and found myself longing for S.E. Hinton to step in and take over to remind me how it felt to be that age. As I waded deeper in, though, I found Sutherland’s authentic voice and it started to work its magic. I was slapped back in time and place with a sentiment from Margaret, the main character: “If I don’t talk for me, who will?” And the author’s portrait of “dog-faced Cheryl” couldn’t have been any better! The clues Sutherland drops about Cheryl paint an amazing picture, rife with information and mystery. For an author, at this stage in life, to have mastered the techniques of character development, strong imagery (ooh, those shiny red shoes), scene building and so much more, leads me to believe she knows what she’s doing. I will definitely keep my eyes peeled for more work bearing her name. And I can’t help but mention how warm it makes me feel to find a little lesbian content in teen works. (heze douglas)

Novelette, $3, Suzanne Sutherland, 55 Markland Drive, Toronto, ON, M9C 1N4, [email protected]

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