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Beck
Cover of Beck
Beck
by Mal Peet
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Peet is the sweeping coming-of-age adventure of a mixed race boy transported to North America. Born from a street liaison between a poor young woman and an African soldier in the 1900s, Beck is soon orphaned and sent to the Catholic Brothers in Canada. Shipped to work on a farm, his escape takes him across the continent in a search for belonging. Enduring abuse and many hardships, Beck has times of comfort and encouragement, eventually finding Grace, the woman with whom he can finally forge his life and shape his destiny as a young man. A picaresque novel set during the Depression as experienced by a young black man, it depicts great pain but has an uplifting and inspiring conclusion.
Peet is the sweeping coming-of-age adventure of a mixed race boy transported to North America. Born from a street liaison between a poor young woman and an African soldier in the 1900s, Beck is soon orphaned and sent to the Catholic Brothers in Canada. Shipped to work on a farm, his escape takes him across the continent in a search for belonging. Enduring abuse and many hardships, Beck has times of comfort and encouragement, eventually finding Grace, the woman with whom he can finally forge his life and shape his destiny as a young man. A picaresque novel set during the Depression as experienced by a young black man, it depicts great pain but has an uplifting and inspiring conclusion.
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  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from February 27, 2017
    A gritty and inspiring survival story, Peet’s final novel, completed by Rosoff after his death, has the stoic quality and soul of a Steinbeck tale. Set in the 1920s and early ’30s, it traces the saga of Beck, a British youth born out of a tryst between his destitute mother and a visiting sailor from West Africa. After Beck’s mother dies just before his 11th birthday, he is brought to a “dire and loveless” orphanage. From there, he is shipped to Canada, where he’s subjected to severe sexual abuse in an establishment run by the Christian Brotherhood, then sent to a farm where he is put in charge of livestock. Tired of being underfed and overworked, Beck runs off: his arduous travels coincide with an inner journey to understand where he fits in, and the kindnesses shown by bootleggers and an older woman of mixed Scottish and Siksika heritage lead him to draw conflicting conclusions about the world and its inhabitants. Harrowing but hopeful, it’s a memorable portrait of a boy struggling to love, be loved, and find his way against overwhelming odds. Ages 16–up.

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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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Beck
Mal Peet
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