Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Me and Luke

O'Hearn, Audrey (Author)
Groundwood Books 2005. 176 pages
First published: 1987
ISBN: 9780888990662 (paperback)
9781554980253 (e-book)
Original language: English
Book type: Novel
Book genre: Realistic

Text Elements:

characterization, conflict, dialogue, point of view

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Matthew Wilson is only a teenager, but he already faces some adult responsibilities. He lives by himself in a Toronto rooming house and struggles to find steady employment. Now, his girlfriend Lorene is having a baby. Lorene’s mother is livid and determined that the child will be adopted, but when Matt meets the baby, his parental instincts kick in. Ill-advisedly, he walks out of the hospital with the days-old infant, tucking the baby into his jacket without so much as a spare diaper. Matt heads north to his grandmother’s house in rural Ontario, where he finds work and raises little Luke. When Matt spots his despicable neighbour setting a house fire to commit insurance fraud, he must choose between coming clean about kidnapping his own baby and denouncing a crime.

The first-person narrative focuses on Max’s deep parental learning curve and touches on systemic issues. In the end, thanks in part to Lorene’s faith in his capacities as a father and in part to Matt’s several months of devotion to his son, he is granted custody of Luke. The characters are deeply developed and the dialogue between them is compelling. Matt is a plausible mix of self-awareness and adolescent fumbling. For instance, he trusts his feelings about his son’s mother: she’s the prettiest girl he’s ever seen, “but I didn’t love her until death do us part. I didn’t love anybody like that.” The tenderness he demonstrates for his son is simply expressed but deeply felt: “somehow I wanted to shelter this little guy from everything bad that could happen to him.”

  •  

    In a small group, discuss what you know about teen pregnancy. What are the options available, the choices to be considered and their implications? What do you know about the rights of the mother and the father?

  •  

    Matt makes an impulsive decision that has legal consequences. Do you think he did what was best for his son? Could his actions have put Luke in danger? What contributed to the happy ending of this story?

  •  Write an article about teen pregnancy or teen parenthood. Make sure your stance is clear and well supported. Use additional resources to obtain background information.
  •  

    Do you believe a 17- or 18-year-old can take care of and raise a newborn infant? In a small group, discuss what is involved, covering factors such as family, finances, teen behaviours and social pressure or stigmas.

  •  

    Take note of how Matt’s perception of and feelings toward Luke change as the story develops. How does that affect Matt’s development?

  •  

    With a partner, develop and deliver a news report on the Benson arson case and how it led to Matt fighting for custody of Luke.

  • To construct his/her identity
  • To cooperate with others
  • To exercise critical judgment
  • To solve problems
  • To use information
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Personal and Career Planning
  • Personal Development