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Northern Exposures by Eric Walters

Northern Exposures

by Eric Walters

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Richie's Picks: NORTHERN EXPOSURES by Eric Walters, HarperCanada, 2001

I was not very surprised to find that one of Eric Walters' careers has been
that of psychologist. There is an utterly priceless scene in NORTHERN
EXPOSURES that takes place in a counselling session...but I'm getting ahead
of myself.

NORTHERN EXPOSURES is the story of Kevin Spreekmeester, who is an average
student with high-powered parents: the lawyer mom and the doctor dad who have
high expectations and zero time for their son. As a result, Kevin has hit
that point where he's lost interest in most everything except hanging out
with friends. One of those friends convinces him to join a scam to bail on
school for a day by forging their parents' signatures on an entry form for a
photography contest. Unbeknownst to Kevin, the camera he uses to quickly
take his obligatory roll of photos is so funky that it's not consistantly
advancing the film, and so the last five exposures are atop one another. Of
course, that photo wins the prize and the local paper shows up for the
interview and picture-in-the-paper. That's when we get to that counselling
session where it's safe to reveal to the 'rents that he's won the great new
camera, tons of film and processing, AND the trip to Manitoba to photograph
polar bears on a tour with a reknowned wildlife photographer. Of course, the
parents can't logically stop Kevin from doing something positive that he's
actually shown an interest in, so it's off to Canada. Then the luggage
doesn't make the plane, and then it turns out that he's been booked on a tour
that's entirely senior citizens except for him, and then there's the
girl...and the bears...and the fact that he barely knows one end of the
camera from the other.

NORTHERN EXPOSURES is full of laughs and adventure, as well as a bunch of
interesting facts about polar bears, and Kevin does, in fact, grow as a
result of his journey. The only drawback to NORTHERN EXPOSURES is its lack
of availability in the States--it's a Canadian publication and so it doesn't
appear in books in print or anywhere in the library systems of Northern
California. But I just got back my one and only copy from the student who
grabbed it after my booktalk a few weeks ago. He told me it was the best
book he had ever read.

Richie Partington
BudNotBuddy at aol.com ( )
  richiespicks | May 27, 2009 |
It is a great book ( )
  JordanX | Mar 16, 2008 |
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Kevin wins a photography contest by a fluke. He is not prepared for the prize -- a five-day trip to Manitoba to photograph polar bears.

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