More Than Bread

More Than Bread

By Andrea Belcham

A review of More Than Bread by Nora Rock

Published on June 1, 2009

More Than Bread
Nora Rock

Smith, Bonappetit & Son
$12.95
paper
204pp
978-1-897118-41-2

More Than Bread spans half a year in the life of Tom Aylesworth, a quiet tenth-grader with a love of sports who runs with the privileged crowd in Toronto. When his new snowboarding boots are stolen by a less fortunate youth and Tom’s friend retaliates on his behalf, the ensuing violence triggers a transformation in the way Tom views the world around him. Tom, the son of divorced parents, moves in temporarily with his father – where he can be better “watched,” he suspects – and there becomes involved in the senior Aylesworth’s new ambitions for political office. Then Tom meets Judge, an activist who tries to dispel the teenager’s apathy by encouraging his involvement in a grassroots organization called Bread Equity. Judge’s commitment to causes that affect tangible change, like feeding the poor, appeals to Tom, who often feels powerless even though he wants for nothing materially:

 

“…[N]o matter what I say, they never really listen,” he notes of his parents; Before I’m even done talking, I can see them rephrasing, interpreting, as if because I’m the kid and they’re the adults, they’re not completely fluent in my language.

 

But Tom, taken for granted by his friends, parents, and even Judge, realizes that the world is not so black and white that rebellion is the answer. When asked by Judge to participate in a demonstration that would surely have repercussions for Tom’s father, Tom acts in a manner that stays true to his values. Author Nora Rock balances fast-paced storytelling with just enough introspective breaks. (Ages 13+) mRb

Andrea Belcham lives in Saint-Lazare, where many of her best neighbours are trees.

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