Hey Malarek!: The True Story of a Street Kid Who Made It


241 pages
ISBN 0-7715-9795-9




Rosalie I. Tennison is Editor of Communicator Magazine.


As the other half of the title says, Hey Malarek! is “the true story of a street kid who made it.” Author Victor Malarek spent three and a half years in a Montreal boys’ home. He learned to be hard and to fight. Finally he came dangerously close to doing time, but a judge gave him a break. Today Malarek writes articles for the Globe and Mail on social policy issues.

Hey Malarek! is a powerful, honest story about a life filled with inner pain and confusion. The book opens with the recounting of a child’s horrible memory of his mother being beaten by his father. It continues with accounts of cruelty, perversity, and dishonesty in a boys’ home and a summer camp where Malarek and his two brothers were sent by a welfare agency. On his return home, he strikes back at an unhappy home situation by fighting with anyone who gets in his way. Malarek is saved eventually by an understanding judge.

This is a well-written autobiography that holds the reader’s attention. Anyone interested in the welfare of children should read it. Anyone who wants to know what makes this exceptional journalist tick should get a copy.

Hey Malarek! makes the reader feel the frustration of a trapped young boy. From chapter to chapter the story pushes the reader down Malarek’s unfortunate and disturbing path. The epilogue is, however, a bit didactic and Malarek allows himself to editorialize, resulting in a distraction from the preceding gripping pages. Nevertheless, the final few paragraphs end the book positively — a welcome contrast to the opening. After the first rough 18 years it’s nice to learn Malarek “made it.”


Malarek, Victor, “Hey Malarek!: The True Story of a Street Kid Who Made It,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 14, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/36842.