Fractures: Family Stories


195 pages
ISBN 0-14-331201-4
DDC jC813'.54




Reviewed by Sylvia Pantaleo

Sylvia Pantaleo is an associate professor of education, specializing in
children’s literature, at the University of Victoria. She is the
coauthor of Learning with Literature in the Canadian Elementary


Fractures revolves around families that are “flawed on several
levels.” In the introduction, Wilson contextualizes the collection by
noting that “[a] fracture is not always a break. Usually it’s a
crack, and sometimes a small one.” The 12 stories, five of which have
been previously published, deal with a range of issues and themes,
including psychological and emotional abuse, sibling rivalry, illness,
death, alcoholism, and coming of age.

In “Like a Water Lily,” the first story, we meet Lida Snider. Her
father is an alcoholic, her mother is depressed, and her Grade 7 peers
ostracize her until Julie, a new student, writes a beautiful and
insightful simile about Lida that changes the way Lida is viewed by
everyone, including herself. In “Fathers,” two male Grade 12
adolescents accept a teacher’s challenge and consequently acknowledge
different truths about themselves and their fathers.

Protagonists in other stories are psychologically scarred, confused by
religion or love, or regretful about their actions and thoughts. In each
story, however, there are moments of discovery in which the characters
realistically grow in their knowledge both of themselves and of others.
“[L]ife is not easy” but it can be “a pretty astonishing and
satisfying adventure” is the central message of Wilson’s engaging
and emotionally gripping stories. Highly recommended.


Wilson, Budge., “Fractures: Family Stories,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 14, 2024,