Winter's Descent


205 pages
ISBN 0-7780-1037-6
DDC C813'.54





Reviewed by Bob Forsey

Bob Forsey is the education officer at the Newfoundland Museum in St.


Set in rural Ontario toward the end of World War II, this novel
chronicles the struggles of 11-year-old Will, who must cope with the
breakup of his family, a move to a new town, the onset of sexual
feelings, and threats from the Mud Street gang. Will is not the only one
with problems. His mother—separated from her husband by marital
differences and his war posting—works two jobs to make ends meet. Aunt
Em fends off her supervisor while trying for a promotion. And a
teacher’s fiancée is missing in action. The author sums up the
attitude of his characters this way: “We are to stick it out, each of
us, alone and brave in his own way.”

Gutteridge has a good ear for colloquial language and a keen eye for
the fantasies of 11-year-old boys. (Will and his friends are fond of
playing Captain Kidd and his pirates or “Tarzan and Boy reconnoitering
for man-eating crocs.”) His characters are portrayed with sensitivity
and insight, and the Zeitgeist of the mid-1940s is well evoked.


Gutteridge, Don., “Winter's Descent,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 17, 2024,