Orca Soundings

Lockdown Lockdown
Diane Tullson
Victoria, B.C.: Orca Book Publishers, 2008.
103 pages

The Orca Soundings titles are great novels for reluctant readers, or readers who maturity level is higher than their reading ability. In Lockdown by Diane Tullson, Adam a Grade 10 student is stuck in the middle of school shooting, only to find out the shooter is a friend of his.

The story itself while dealing with a difficult topic is very simplistic. The entire narrative occurs in a non-descript high school, over the span of a single day. Adam’s first person narrative is very clear and straightforward. Only a few secondary characters are introduced and their roles are very distinctive so that they do not get confused easily. During conversations or descriptions, the person or object being spoken about is consistently reinforced so that the reader does not become confused about the subject.

Even though the title deals with a fairly difficult and violent topic, there is very little description of violence. Similarly, the psychological aspect of what lead the shooter to the kind of violent act he committed, is in no way discussed. All of the actions are described in a one forward motion, with only a little bit of allusion or discussion of previous events.

Keeping the storyline fairly simplistic is beneficial for struggling readers. But, once a reader is past the stage of needing simplistic storylines, characters and settings, these books may be found as somewhat frustrating in the way that everything is spelt out with very little need for interpretation.