cover image The Revelation of Saint Bruce

The Revelation of Saint Bruce

Tres Seymour. Orchard Books (NY), $16.95 (160pp) ISBN 978-0-531-30109-8

Bruce's friends call him a saint because he is so upstanding--but that's before he rats them out. The story begins with Bruce and his Latin Club buddies and their distaste for organized sports and pep rallies (""Never have so few been so deafened by so many in so short a time for so little reason""). They think they should be excused from pre-game assemblies to ""study."" After petitioning the principal, they are allowed to miss the rallies and remain in the Latin room with their sponsoring teacher, Mrs. Atwell. All goes well until the fateful day that both Bruce and Mrs. Atwell are absent from school. While the rest of the school is cheering on the Carthage North football team, the Latin Club clique gets drunk instead of hitting the books. Whether or not Bruce is justified in telling the manipulative Mrs. Atwell becomes the central dilemma of the story. Bruce's ""saintliness"" seems automatic and not the result of any deliberate philosophy, with the result that he is more a vehicle than a character. The breeziness of Seymour's (Life in the Desert) writing, however, and his characters' wry summations in particular, prevent the book from becoming heavy-handed, and its questions about conformity and forgiveness will engage readers. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)