Cordelia Clark


167 pages
ISBN 0-7736-7423-3
DDC jC813'.54




Reviewed by Dave Jenkinson

Dave Jenkinson is a professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba and the author of the “Portraits” section of Emergency Librarian.


The quality of writing found in Wilson’s The Leaving, recipient of the
1991 CLA Young Adult Canadian Book Award, is equally present in this
collection of 10 short stories. As with the first compilation, Cordelia
Clark’s contents will likely appeal principally to older female
adolescents as well as to adults. In the main, Wilson’s central
characters are adult females who are both recalling events that occurred
during their adolescent years and reflecting on how the effects of those
events continue to influence their present lives. For example, in the
title story, Trudy Bergen, now 76, remembers 1927, when Cordelia Clark
and her affluent parents temporarily moved into her Annapolis Valley
community. Trudy, then 11 and desirous of this attractive new girl’s
friendship, allowed herself to be manipulated by Cordelia until she
found herself isolated from all her friends. Though the child-Trudy
finally dealt with Cordelia, as a class reunion looms,
septuagenarian-Trudy fears the power this “girl” might still have
even 65 years later.

Essentially character pieces, the stories have wide-ranging themes,
from the romance found in “Loretta and Alexander” and “Was It Fun
on the Beach Today?” to the concept of forgiveness contained in
“Just Give Me a Little More Time, Eh?” The adolescent developmental
task of identity is effectively explored in “Birds, Horses and
Muffins” and in “Joanna and the Dark.” “The Happy Pill,” a
delightful science-fiction story set in the year 2080, when drugs
prevent and/or cure seemingly everything, does appear somewhat out of
place among the more realistic pieces. Highly recommended.


Wilson, Budge., “Cordelia Clark,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 14, 2024,