Macdonald Hall Goes Hollywood
Tony Barclay is a retired juvenile corrections probation officer and a
former public-health research associate at the University of Toronto.
This is the latest in a series of young people’s books about the
students of an imaginary private school in Toronto. In particular, it
deals with the two leading members of Dormitory 3, Bruno Walton and
Boots. Somewhat in the background are their friends, the girls of Miss
Scrimmage’s Finishing school, a neighboring institution closely allied
to Macdonald Hall.
This book deals with the highly improbable events attendant on the
arrival of Jordie Jones, a teenage Hollywood star and one-time child
actor who is brought in to play the leading part in a new film. The
girls are mad to meet the actor and the boys, particularly Bruno, are
mad to get themselves into the film.
The story is told in a racy, conversational style that will no doubt be
popular with the many young readers who apparently so much enjoyed the
earlier books in the series. The adventures of the young people and the
movie star might appear highly unlikely to older readers. For one thing,
the childish way in which almost all the adults in the book—from the
headmistress of the girls’ school down to the movie director and the
star’s toupee-wearing representative—behave throughout defies adult
belief. They allow the young people to outmaneuver them at every turn.
Only the boys’ headmaster retains his sanity and comes through with
This, therefore, is not a book for older readers. Parents, teachers,
and other people who think they know what ought to be good for young
readers will only be appalled. Let them beware: the shallow morality,
stereotypical characterization, adolescent humor, and juvenile antics
are not meant for them. To young readers, however, the book will appear
in a different light. The story is fast-moving, describing events—like
school dances, dormitory feasts and poker games, midnight adventures,
and wild hockey matches—that will be of great interest to them. Let
adult readers turn back to their mysteries and leave the young to enjoy
their own kind of escapist literature; no doubt they will lap it up.