Missing Matthew

by Kristyn Dunnion
ISBN: 0889952787

Post Your Opinion
A Review of: Missing Matthew
by Heather Birrell

In Missing Matthew, Kristyn Dunnion has created a world that is truly kid-centred. Replete with all the whimsy, confusion, kindness and cruelty childhood entails, this novel is particularly notable for its wonderful depiction of the world of play. Its narrator Winifred (Freddie) Zoron, aka Rebel F, decides it is up to her and her best friend Weasel Peterson, aka Rebel Leader, and her sister Jelly, aka Rebel J, to scour the small town of Rockwell searching for their classmate, Matthew, when he doesn't show up at school one day. Together, the Rebel Rescue Squad eventually stumble upon Matthew hiding in an abandoned root cellar. From this point the novel becomes less about a dangerous stranger than the more intimate and difficult-to-decipher ties between familiar adults.
Freddie's voice is full of energy and spunk-even when she's blue she finds great ways to express herself, dubbing her favourite leftover meal the Second Supper Sandwich. Weasel too has a flair for creative expression-Freddie's brother becomes "Evil Swamp Bag" when he tries to thwart the Rebel Rescue Squad's plans. Dunnion has divided her text into short snappy chapters, with such titles as "Bossy", "Itchy Sheets", and "Sour Gum Blues", each a new installment in Freddie's adventure. Several of the chapters take as their inspiration a writing project Freddie has been asked to revise for her teacher, Miss Mayler. As she re-works her character study of Weasel, we learn more about the Rebel Leader's friendship with the narrator-a compelling narrative strategy that will be sure to grab readers accustomed to the restrictions of school writing assignments.
However, Missing Matthew isn't all bells and whistles. The denouement of the story leads us into very fraught emotional territory, when Freddie discovers that Matthew's mother is not missing, as he proclaims, but instead died mere months earlier. This leads to several further revelations and some very honest discussion about the nature of death and grieving-for both kids and grown-ups. Missing Matthew is a story with heart, verve and momentum, told with humour and sparkle.

Home First Novel Award Past Winners Subscription Back Issues Timescroll Advertizing Rates
Amazon.ca/Books in Canada Bestsellers List Books in Issue Books in Department About Us