Lionel's Wedding: Book Review

Lionel's Wedding
(Penwinnard Stories Book Four)
By M.A. McRae

Welfare kids have got to be tough, but Steven Vikkers is not tough. He calls himself 'soft,' though at fourteen, he has not yet decided whether or not he is gay. Gays get bashed in his neighbourhood. Being a welfare kid might not be ideal, but it is safe.

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My Review: The Penwinnard series follows a group of boys who live in a boy's home. Ian MacKender is the capable manager of the home and knows more about the boys shenanigans than they give him credit for. Lionel's Wedding is the fourth book in the series. This book revisits Bob's story and introduces us to Steven, a young man who is 'softer' than most welfare kids.

Penwinnard is the ideal place for someone like Steven. Even though the boys are prone to settle disputes by physically fighting (which Steven does not like to do), they are also capable of understanding and accepting boys who are different. I think this can largely be attributed to Ian's careful guidance. Since Penwinnard is a private charity home, Ian is able to handpick the boys who live there. His steady guidance makes an impact on the boys, though Ian isn't overly strict. He's fair, consistent with punishments, and allows the boys to settle their own disputes whenever possible. As a result, the Penwinnard boys are a nice, but lively bunch.

The Penwinnard series explores some very serious issues such as child abuse, sexual slavery, prostitution, kidnapping, and many of the other topics you'd expect to find in a book where the main characters are children who have been placed into care for one reason or another. Indeed, it's heartbreaking to read about Steven's family--a father in prison, an alcoholic mother, a brother who has resorted to committing crimes in order to support the family, and a sister who has turned to prostitution. For many Penwinnard boys, there are happy endings--placement in a permanent home, careers, and even weddings. In the Penwinnard stories, there is always hope, and that's why this has become one of my favorite series. I hope the author continues to write these books for years to come.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


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