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A Troublesome Boy by Paul Vasey
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A Troublesome Boy

by Paul Vasey

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St. Ignatius Academy for Boys is a last hope for "troublesome boys." It is a school that has a long reputation of secrecy and most outsiders suspect plenty of foul play happening there. But no one quite knows the extent of it until Teddy's mom's boyfriend sends Teddy there and he witnesses it all.

This novel gives a startling (and fictional) look at the physical and sexual abuse from some Catholic priests in the 1950s and 1960s, bringing light to the controversy that began surfacing much later. Teddy is so shocked by what he see's "holy men" doing that he starts to wonder how God would let people get away with the things happening in this school. ( )
  mpelleg | Feb 15, 2016 |
St. Ignatius Academy for Boys is a last hope for "troublesome boys." It is a school that has a long reputation of secrecy and most outsiders suspect plenty of foul play happening there. But no one quite knows the extent of it until Teddy's mom's boyfriend sends Teddy there and he witnesses it all.

This novel gives a startling (and fictional) look at the physical and sexual abuse from some Catholic priests in the 1950s and 1960s, bringing light to the controversy that began surfacing much later. Teddy is so shocked by what he see's "holy men" doing that he starts to wonder how God would let people get away with the things happening in this school. ( )
  RussianLoveMachine | Apr 19, 2014 |
See my forthcoming review in Kirkus. ( )
  Sullywriter | Apr 3, 2013 |
Teddy isn't happy. And who would be in his situation? It's 1959. His dad left a couple years ago, and his mom has since let her live-in boyfriend take over their lives. Teddy might be causing some of his own problems -- getting into trouble with other boys at school, letting his grades slip -- but, still, is this any reason for his mom's boyfriend -- not even his step dad, really -- to ship him off to some reform school?

At the St. Ignatius Academy for Boys, run by the Catholic church in a small Canadian town, Teddy's life is about to get worse. The priests are strict and the punishments are brutal. It's a desolate, hopeless place. Teddy is desperate to get out, but even when his mom does write, all she does is talk about her boyfriend. Teddy's saving grace are the two friends he's made at St. Iggy's -- a fellow student, Cooper, and the school handyman, Rozey, who takes the boys on little trips and gives them home-cooked meals on the weekends. Teddy is just looking forward to the day when he can get out, but when he realizes that something strange is going on with Cooper, that the abuse his friend is taking is crossing a line he never imagined, Teddy realizes he has to do something. He has to save his friend, and himself.

A TROUBLESOME BOY is not a happy book. It's heart-breaking to read, terrifying, and sombre. But it's elegant prose, the beautiful narrative voice, and the catharsis of the story are what make it compulsively readable. Paul Vasey is a literary talent that I'm hoping we'll be seeing more and more from. This is the kind of book we're bound to see with shiny award stickers in the near future. ( )
  EKAnderson | Jul 11, 2012 |
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Teddy can't believe how fast his life has changed in just two years. When he was twelve, his father took off, and then his mother married Henry, a man Teddy despises. But Teddy has no control over his life, and adults make all the decisions, especially in 1959. Henry decides that Teddy should be sent to St. Ignatius Academy for Boys, an isolated boarding school run by the Catholic church. St. Iggy's, Teddy learns, is a cold, unforgiving place -- something between a juvenile detention center and reform school. The other boys are mostly a cast of misfits and eccentrics, but Teddy quickly becomes best friends with Cooper, a wise-cracking, Wordsworth-loving kid with a history of neglect. Despite the priests' ruthless efforts to crack down on the slightest hint of defiance or attitude, the boys get by for a while on their wits, humor and dreams of escape. But the beatings, humiliation and hours spent in the school's infamous "time-out" rooms, and the institutionalized system of power and abuse that protects the priests' authority, eventually take their toll, especially on the increasingly fragile Cooper. Then one of the new priests, Father Prince, starts to summon Cooper to his room at night, and Teddy watches helplessly as his friend withdraws into his own private nightmare, even as Prince targets Teddy himself as his next victim. Teddy and Cooper's only reprieve comes on Saturdays, when the school janitor, Rozey, takes the boys to his run-down farmhouse outside of town, the only place where the boys can feel normal -- fishing, playing cribbage, watching the bears at the local dump. But even this can't stop Cooper's downward spiral and eventual suicide. And just when Teddy thinks something good might come out of his friend's tragedy, he finds himself dealing with the ultimate betrayal.… (more)

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