The Kayak

8 June 2011

The Kayak
by Debbie Spring
Published by Thistledown Press
Review by Marie Powell Mendenhall
$12.95 ISBN: 978-1-897235-71-3

Debbie Spring launches the action of her juvenile novel, The Kayak, in the opening chapters, when Teresa is kayaking around the islands of Georgian Bay. She notices a wind surfer in trouble, and manages a daring rescue, pulling him to shore by rope.

Once on shore, though, Teresa’s father comes and lifts her from her kayak into her wheelchair. That doesn’t bother Jamie, who asks her to a campfire with his friends. In spite of the manipulations of his former girlfriend, Kat, Jamie tells Teresa: “There’s something special about you and I want to find out.”

Written in the first person, the book’s style helps readers connect with Teresa: “The choppy waves rise and fall. My kayak bobs like a cork in the swirling waters of Georgian Bay. I love it. I feel wild and free… I am one with the kayak. The blue boat is an extension of my legs. I can do anything: I can go anywhere. Totally independent. Totally in control of my life. It’s so different back at shore.”

Teresa easily solves the conflicts that arise in her life. She has her pick of young men at the camp, and easily navigates relationships and family life.

Thistledown first published Spring’s short story “The Kayak” in the anthology Takes: Stories for Young Adults. It became the seed for this novel. Spring lives in Thornhill, Ontario, and her publication Breathing Soccer was short-listed for the Manitoba Young Readers’ Choice award. She has been a published writer since 1985.


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