Zee's Way


104 pages
ISBN 1-55143-279-X
DDC jC813'.54




Reviewed by Allison Sivak

Allison Sivak is a librarian in the Science and Technology Library at
the University of Alberta.


Zee is engaged in a war against the store owners who think he and his
friends are trouble. The old warehouse buildings where the kids used to
hang out are bulldozed, and a new shopping mall is built. When the boys
continue to hang around the area, they are treated with suspicion by the
store owners, as if they were criminals, and kicked off the premises.
Zee has aspirations toward art, and gets his revenge on the store owners
by spray-painting graffiti on their new buildings, intensifying the
standoff between the kids and the adults. After the graffiti is painted
over, Zee returns to redo his piece of protest work, but gets caught.
When the owner of the hardware store makes Zee work off the damages by
painting a permanent mural on the building, it lays the foundation to
bridge the misunderstanding between the adults and the boys.

This young-adult novel for reluctant readers attempts to investigate
the characters’ motivations for their actions, pointing to Zee’s
conflict with his father (his mother left the two of them) as a
contributor to his rebellion. However, it’s all funnelled through
Zee’s own observations of his friends’ and the adults’ behaviour,
and at times he exhibits a higher level of maturity than one would
realistically expect. The book holds no surprises, and while there are
some moving scenes (particularly when Zee and his father both realize
Zee’s mother isn’t coming home), the author has packed too many
elements into this otherwise straightforward story about the barriers,
negotiation, and understanding between generations. Recommended with


Butcher, Kristin., “Zee's Way,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 30, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/22575.