A Question of Will


141 pages
ISBN 1-896184-52-9
DDC jC813'.54





Elisabeth Anne MacDonald-Murray is an assistant professor of English at
the University of Western Ontario.


The character who is thrown back in time to a distant historical period
has been a time-honored plot line since Mark Twain’s A Connecticut
Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, and has proven particularly popular in
children’s literature with its potential to combine an exciting
adventure with a surreptitious history lesson. Given the many
possibilities of this plot device, A Question of Will begins with a
promising premise: a 14-year-old tomboy is mysteriously whisked back in
time to 16th-century London, where she disguises herself as a boy actor
and becomes embroiled within the world of the Elizabethan theatre with
Shakespeare’s own company, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men.
Unfortunately, the story fails to live up to its potential, resulting in
a narrative that is neither entertaining nor enlightening.

In her attempt to appeal to a teenaged audience, Lynne Kositsky has
produced a comic-book caricature of early modern English life and
society. Her narrator and heroine, the cross-dressing Perin (nicknamed
Willow), delivers a cocky running commentary on everything and everybody
that is presumably intended to be a witty take on teen angst but instead
falls flat, tending to be tedious rather than amusing, and completely
failing to replicate contemporary teen language (what self-respecting
teenager would continually exclaim, “doggam”?). Although
Kositsky’s frequent references to modern popular culture might provoke
a snicker from a young contemporary reader, allusions to the Starship
Voyager and Jerry Maguire will quickly date the story and be lost on
future readers in a very short time. Overall, the text fails either to
charm with its attempt at wit or to interest with its depiction of
another time and place. Not recommended.


Kositsky, Lynne., “A Question of Will,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 29, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/21387.