Kevin Major Kirkus Reviews - Essay

Kirkus Reviews

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[In Hold Fast, fourteen-year-old] Michael, orphaned along with his seven-year-old brother Brent when his parents are killed by a drunken driver, tries to grapple with the changes in his life. The Newfoundland idiom [in which he speaks] soon becomes as natural as Michael himself as he recounts his move from Marten, his fishing village, to live with relatives in distant St. Albert. While Michael's relationship with straight-arrow cousin Curtis slowly solidifies, he is hard put to accept his uncle's dictatorial, arbitrary rules; and despite new friends and a girl at school, there are teasings and fights, which eventually lead to his expulsion. Overwhelmed, Michael runs away, with Curtis joining him in the latter's first defiant act ever; after a "borrowed" car caper and a few days spent in a national park closed for the winter, they arrive at Marten to find Michael's beloved grandfather dying…. A classic innocent who sometimes sounds like a sort of Newfoundland Holden Caulfield, Michael is more than redeemed as a character by the directness and strength of his emotions. And first novelist Major projects all the action as Michael experiences it, with the same directness and vigor.

A review of "Hold Fast," in Kirkus Reviews (copyright © 1980 The Kirkus Service, Inc.), Vol. XLVIII, No. 10, May 15, 1980, p. 651.