Review Blog

Nov 22 2011

Stoner and Spaz by Ron Koertge

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Candlewick Press, 2002. ISBN 9780763621506.
(Age: 15+) Ben Bancroft is a sixteen year old with cerebral palsy and a mindset that keeps him on the fringes of life. He is a movie buff and spends all his spare time in the local Rialto Theatre. Colleen Minou, is a larger than life, tattooed high school student with a drug problem and not the kind of girl Ben's grandmother and guardian, would like him to be around. When they meet Ben is entranced. Despite her troubled image, Colleen brings warmth and friendship. She sees beyond Ben's disability and gives him a new confidence to engage with the world. With the help of a family friend, Ben pursues an interest in film making but life with Colleen is a roller coaster. Ben is a positive influence, motivating her to become clean but can he really count on her?
There are many disenfranchised individuals in society behind the labels of disabled, drug addicted or homeless. This book gives the reader the opportunity to see the personalities behind these labels and hopefully develop insight and empathy.
Stoner and Spaz conveys important messages in a style that is both humorous and poignant. This is a book that could stimulate interesting discussion about stereotypes and preconceptions and a worthy addition to the school library.
Tina Cain

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