Mass Market Paperback | January 9, 2001

byWilliam Bell

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"But I don't look like a Jewish Negro or a black Jew. I look like a black. I am of average height, of average build, with wavy hair that I wear very short, and very dark skin. Talk about an identity crisis."

Ten years after Crabbe, Bell returns to the theme of a young man wrestling with his identity. Zack Lane is uncomfortable with his mixed racial origins. He knows much about his father's side, the descendants of Romanian Jews, but his mother broke all ties with her family before Zack was born. Why she did so is the "family mystery."

Zack has recently been uprooted when his parents moved from the largest city in Canada to the outskirts of a small town. Friendless, unsuccessful at school and at the lowest point in his life, he undertakes a research project into the life of Richard Pierpoint, former African slave, soldier in the War of 1812, and the pioneer farmer who cleared the land on which Zack's house now stands. Pierpoint's story inspires Zack to go to Mississippi to look for his maternal grandfather. What he discovers shakes the foundations of all he has believed in.

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From the Publisher

"But I don't look like a Jewish Negro or a black Jew. I look like a black. I am of average height, of average build, with wavy hair that I wear very short, and very dark skin. Talk about an identity crisis."Ten years after Crabbe, Bell returns to the theme of a young man wrestling with his identity. Zack Lane is uncomfortable with his ...

William Bell, author, editor and educator, holds Masters degrees in both Education and Literature. Currently the Head of English at Orillia Collegiate, Bell has also taught in Harbin and Beijing. His other novels include Crabbe, No Signature, Speak to the Earth and Forbidden City, which has been translated into more than ten languages.

other books by William Bell

Forbidden City
Forbidden City

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Crabbe: 20th Anniversary Edition
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see all books by William Bell
Format:Mass Market PaperbackDimensions:224 pages, 6.85 × 4.15 × 0.6 inPublished:January 9, 2001Publisher:PRH Canada Young ReadersLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0770428606

ISBN - 13:9780770428600

Appropriate for ages: 13 - 17

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Customer Reviews of Zack


Rated 4 out of 5 by from the Wonderful book Zack this book was really good because it taught me how cruel the world can be and that it is not only the white people that are racist in the book but so is his grandfather(who is black) was also racist about the white people. it taught me that we should not judge people by there color of skin but as they are as a person. that is what the book thaught me
Date published: 2005-05-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Zack This book was really good. It's about a boy who is half black, and half Jewish. He falls in love with a girl named Jen, and everything is good for a while. He writes a history paper to bring up his mark, and the topic of his paper inspires him go to Mississippi, and meet his African relations. This book has a few interesting twists and turns. It's really interesting, and I reccomend this book to anyone over the age of 12 or 13, because some of the things mentioned in the book.
Date published: 2003-07-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from True Book Review The book Zack is an easy and fast book to read. The book is very descriptive and does not stray from the main plot very much. It takes place in the North American countries of Canada and the United States. It is about a 17 year old boy named Zack, who got up-rooted from his life in the city, during his last year of high school and was brought to the country. Zack resents his parents for taking him to a place he hates. Zack's mother with holds all she can take about Zack's kin on his mother's side of the family. Zack has a plan to find out about his other side of the family, yet it would ruin the ending if I told you. Read it and you will find a surprise twist near the end of the story. I think the book is well rounded and a good story all together. I would recommend this book to anyone age 12 and up because some of the content might be inappropriate for some people.
Date published: 2003-05-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Book Zack is a great book that takes place in Fergus, Ontario. William Bell is one of the best Canadian authors I know of. The book is about the life of a young black male that searches for his grandfather and is pushed around because of his colour. This is a great book. Read It
Date published: 2001-05-16

Extra Content

Read from the Book

Chapter 1“You can never place your foot into the same river twice,” my dad often reminded me, quoting some ancient Greek philosopher with an unpronounceable name. I wondered as I scraped the sole of my high-top on the spade’s edge if the same wisdom applied to stepping in dog droppings. Between our new house and the row of cedars that fringed the river, the dry brown grass was littered with revolting little piles of fossilized puppy poop that had magically appeared as the snow thawed.Scooping dog doo-doo pretty much summed up the way I felt about moving to that place. The house itself was all right. Under torture I would have admitted that it was better than our cramped two-bedroom apartment in the city. I had a decent room on the second floor with a big window looking over the yard, but that wasn’t much consolation. I was used to going to school through the rumble and snarl of traffic, sidewalks teeming with people rushing past restaurants, pool halls, video arcades and head shops. I had travelled on a city bus jammed with faces of every colour and humming with languages from around the world. Now each morning I stood like a stump at the end of our unpaved driveway waiting for the big yellow monster to swallow me up and transport me to Boredom High School. I had been dragged from a major street in the biggest city in the country to the edge of the known universe, a rural route in Garafraxa Township–the name sounded like an incurable skin disease–with a chicken farm at the dead end, on the outskirts of a no-place village called Fergus where, as near as I could tell, the locals’ idea of a good time was trying on gloves at the department store or watching the blue light revolve on the top of the snow plow.There was nothing funny about being the only child of two stubborn parents who had decided to leave the city and do the pioneer thing among the trees. I had visions of alfalfa sprouts and seeds for lunch, Mom weaving her own cloth, Dad dressed in a tartan bush shirt and faded jeans, chopping kindling and spitting black tobacco juice.“It’s a great opportunity for your dad,” my mother had told me a year ago, after she dropped the bomb. “He’ll be chair of the department.”“Your mom has never liked the city,” Dad had said in a different conversation. “She can set up a recording studio in the house, like she’s always wanted. And have a garden.”Two against one. What the kid wanted didn’t count. For months I ranted, sulked and threw things around my room. On purpose I flunked two courses. I ran away for three days. We moved anyway. And now, here I was in the back yard, Zack Lane, Canine Feces Remover.Chapter 2I knew from the sour smell that Jenkins had sneaked up behind me just as the download was completed, and that he had seen me eject the diskette and slip it into my shirt pocket.“Let’s have it, Zack,” he commanded, his voice betraying a hint of triumph.I clicked the mouse and blanked the screen. “Um, what’s wrong, sir?”“You know what.”“It’s just my own personal disk,” I said. “It’s, you know, confidential.”“Nice try.”“I can explain.”“I’m not interested. Let’s have it.”I took the diskette out of my pocket and passed it back over my shoulder.“Stick around at the end of the period.”Outside the dirty window of the computer lab on the second floor of the school a fine rain fell out of a low grey sky. Our geography class had spent the last hour pulling down weather maps from some satellite or other so we could watch bright green meteorological patterns flowing amoeba-like across the blue map on our screens. That is, most of us had. On one side of me a skinny guy who had just returned from a three-day suspension was painting hearts with initials in them on his binder with white correction fluid. On the other, a girl sporting purple hyper-extended false fingernails urgently explained to her friend why she “absolutely hated” her own hair.I already knew it was raining so I connected to the Internet and surfed for certain information I was after. It had taken me most of the period to find some good stuff, almost oblivious to the clickety click of keyboards and mice and the hum of conversation.Going “off task” hadn’t been difficult because Jenkins had spent most of the period with his sleeves rolled up, hunched over his cluttered desk marking tests and pumping out the b.o. Short, rotund and an early victim of pattern baldness, he was best known for the stale body odour that enveloped him like a damp fog.As my classmates filed out of the room, some casting curious glances my way, Jenkins tightened the tie he had worn for five days running and slipped on an old tweed jacket.“Meet me in Ms. O’Neil’s office after last class, Zack. And bring your computer-use contract with you.”An hour and a half later I plowed through the noisy chaos of the halls to the principal’s office, more irritated than worried. O’Neil would probably give me a reprimand and revoke my computer privileges. Unauthorized downloads were treated seriously by the school. I didn’t blame them. There was all sorts of disgusting crap available on the Net and the school didn’t want us finding, seeing or downloading it and corrupting ourselves. If you got caught, you’d lose your login and could only use computers for word-processing and spreadsheets and stuff–unless you had a friend who would let you use his login, which I didn’t. The truth was that the school had about as much success controlling Net access as it did preventing the drug trade.

Editorial Reviews

"Bell graphically depicts the horror of Tiananmen Square in this powerful and compelling book." —Calgary Herald

"Full of pleasures—. William Bell is arguably one of the most wide-ranging and reliable of Canadian authors." —Books in Canada