Award winning author and illustrator delivers knockout with new book.

Jamie Heap
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The Book Review: The Manager. Written by Caroline Stellings. (Sydney: CBU Press), $11.95, 175 pages.

When people in literary circles hear the name Caroline Stellings, the best-selling Malagawatch Mice series that she wrote and illustrated comes to mind. But Stellings is more than just a children’s author and illustrator: she is also a young adult author with knack for story-telling.

The Manager commences on St. Patrick’s Day, 1979 in a gym full of punching bags and sweaty boxers in Whitney Pier, a place that main character Tina MacKenzie describes as “a tar pond, coke oven, a million tons of contaminated soil, a broken field of black rubble and wild grass, a yellow mountain of pure sulphur and a long line of underground pipes that carry the deadliest chemicals known to humanity.”

While she doesn’t look the part, Tina MacKenzie, who stands four feet tall, is an astute boxing mind who, contrary to her father’s beliefs, understands a great deal about the intricacies of the sport of kings from reading copies of The Ring and from growing up around boxing.

Feeling the urge to get away from her hard-headed father, Tina, her sister Ellie, the book’s narrator, and their friend Bonita embark on a road trip to Boston, a trip that would forever alter the direction of Tina’s life.

At a roadside diner in Antigonish, the trio encounter Jesse Mankiller, a half Cherokee, half Mi’kmaw light heavyweight boxer who Tina believes has the potential to win a major boxing title under her tutelage.

Beginning with a fight at the old Halifax Forum with hometown fighter Mason Pitts, Tina works out of Mankiller’s corner as his cut woman.

What circumstances lead to Tina taking on a bigger role in Mankiller’s corner? Will she lead to him to a major title? Find out by reading the Manager, an inexpensive CBU book that is well-worth the cover price.

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