This story takes place in Ottawa in the 1950's. It begins when 14 year
old Hubbo (short for Hulbert) O'Driscoll moves from Lowertown to live at
the Uplands Emergency Shelter. His mother died when he was born and his
father was tragically run over by a streetcar. It was then that he was sent to
live with Miss O'Driscoll who was married to a distant cousin of his dad.
Mr. O'Driscoll was "missing in action" in the war, and although everyone
knew he had drowned in the Pacific, Mrs. O'Driscoll kept on believing he
was alive. During the summer Hubbo caddied for an extremely overly
stressed man named Mr. Donald D. DonaldmcDonald at the golf course by
the shelter. But that job ended when Mr. DonaldmcDonald had a heart attack
on the course. A young girl named Fleurette Featherstone Fitchell, who used
to go to Hubbo's old school, also moved into building number 8 at the
shelter. Even though Hubbo knew all the rumors about her being "dirty" they
became good friends. Hubbo and Mrs. O'Driscoll weren't very well-off and
the only job she could get was being the cleaning lady at Hubbo's new
school, which she didn't mind but Hubbo sure did. He always avoided her
and told no one that she was his mother. Everyone at school knew who the
Hi-Y boys were. They were the most popular boys at school. Hubbo secretly
wanted to be in the club, but didn't tell Fleurette because she thought it was
stupid. After much searching Hubbo finally found a job. Every Tuesday and
Thursday night Hubbo was to stay overnight at Miss Collar-Cuff's house.
She was elderly, rich and lonely and needed a young lively boy to stay with
her, and read to her. One day the principal called Hubbo to his office and told
him he would be receiving 50 dollars every month, but he was not allowed to
reveal who it was from. One day Hubbo mentioned that he was friends with
Doug, the president of the Hi-Y Club to Fleurette. She started yelling and
accusing him of telling Doug about the rumors about her back in Lowertown.
Hubbo hadn't mentioned anything about the rumors to Doug but Fleurette
still refused to talk to him for months. One morning the principal told Hubbo
he was sorry but Miss Collar-Cuff had passed away. Hubbo was devastated.
Hubbo decided his friendship with Fleurette meant more to him than some
silly Hi-Y Club. He went up to Doug, punched him, and forced him to tell
Fleurette the truth, that Hubbo hadn't told him about the rumors. Fleurette
and Hubbo were friends again. When school was finally over everyone from
building 8 had a picnic. To Hubbo's surprise Mr. Donald D.
DonaldmcDonald showed up, and confessed he was the one sending the 50
dollars a month. The mystery was solved. In that same day another mystery
was solved. Mr. O'Driscoll came home.
I think this book was quite a good example of a problem novel. It dealt
with a wide variety of problems instead of just focusing on one in particular.
For example, problems such as friends, family, school, jobs, and death. It
explained how the character dealt with these problems, whether it was the
right way or the wrong way.
All of the problems Hubbo experienced could really happen but in
some ways it was hard for me to relate to the character's problems. For
example the story took place almost 50 years ago. Secondly this boy had to
deal with a life of being poor, while I am fortunate enough not to be in such a
position. Also, he had no mother or father, which I could not relate to. I
could, however, relate to the tragedy of the death of a loved one, fights with
friends, being embarrassed by your family, and the difficulty in finding a job.
But, I'm sure many people have to go through the problems similar to those
Yes, I would recommend this book. It's a nice light read with great
characters and a fun plot. It allows you to see life in the eyes of an adolescent
boy and gives you a chance to see it from someone else's perspective. But
most of all it helped me to really appreciate all the things I take for granted.