Sponsored Collection

Atlantic Books for the Holidays


Pure Spring

by Brian Doyle

0 ratings
0 of 5
comments: 0
reviews: 1
add a tag
Please login or register to use this feature.

multigenerational, post-confederation (1867-)
list price: $18.95
also available: Paperback eBook
published: 2007
Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
11 to 14
6 to 9
Reading age:
11 to 14
close this panel
Community Reviews and Comments
Sign Up or Sign In to add your review or comment.
Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

Pure Spring

It’s spring in post-World War II Ottawa. Martin has found a true home with Grandpa Rip and a job at the Pure Spring soft drink company. But everything isn’t perfect — honesty, love and a haunting past challenge Martin. The poignant sequel to Boy O’Boy.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2008.

close this panel
  • Commended, CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens 2008
  • Commended, Quill & Quire Books of the Year 2007 List
close this panel

In the sequel to the award-winning Boy O'Boy, it's spring in post-World War II Ottawa and Martin O'Boy has finally found a true home with Grampa Rip. Martin's also found a job, working for the Pure Spring soft drink company. Best of all, he's in love with beautiful Gerty McDowell.

But everything's not perfect. Martin lied to kindly Mr. Mirsky, Pure Spring's owner, to get the job. Grampa Rip's brain increasingly goes missing. There's that mysterious, yet oddly familiar, man in the park. There are also Martin's memories, the sudden appearance of famed Soviet defector Igor Gouzensko, and Martin's shady boss, Randy. And worst of all, Randy is robbing Gerty's grandfather, and he's forcing Martin to be his accomplice. Martin's happiness, sense of duty, and love for Gerty collide. Can he find his way through these dire developments?

Brian Doyle's fast-paced plot and vivid characterizations, along with the lively colloquial dialogue and period detail, create a rich historical portrait that confirms the author's place as a master storyteller.

close this panel
Contributor notes

Brian Doyle is a four-time winner of the Canadian Library Association's Book of the Year for Children Award. His American honors include being selected for the Horn Book's Fanfare List, the ABA "Pick of the Lists" and the New York Public Library's Best Books for the Teen Age. He has also won the NSK Neustadt Prize, the Phoenix Honor Award, and he has been named a finalist for the Hans Christian Anderson Award. He lives in Chelsea, Quebec.

close this panel
Editorial Reviews

The pace and the easy to read narrative, while challenging the reader, is also chatty, humourous, and comfortable.

— Resource Links

His singular writing style and finely developed characters are a delight to know. Yet Doyle does not neglect the raw and sometimes painful events of childhood in his warm and funny narrative.

— Language Arts

As always, Doyle rounds out the grimness with comedic scenes, balancing tragedy and pain with touching descriptions of the dizzying first love between Martin and Gerty McDowell...Doyle's gentle, affectionate touch makes for a story that ultimately goes down as sweet as a Pure Spring Honee Orange soft drink.


Doyle is a first-class writer in every sense of the word. For those who can think back to circa 1950, he's brought it all vividly to life again. For the in-betweens who can't, this book is better than a history lesson. It's highly recommended.

— Guardian

Pure Spring is a remarkable interlace of tragedy, comedy, romance and even high adventure. It's a blend that only Doyle can mix - a story that's quick-paced and accessible, engages even reluctant readers, and has literary genius and human wisdom at its heart.

— Toronto Star

Although this book deals with some very serious themes...there are many humorous moments, and the book's message is ultimately one of redemption...a moving and often beautiful novel.

— School Library Journal

...Doyle's writing is to be savoured....Pure Spring is superbly done. Highly Recommended.

— CM Magazine

It's a delightful story and a funny one, narrated by Martin, but other, darker story strands flow beneath and in and out of this narrative stream...Which is not to say that darkness prevails in Pure Spring. Rather, Martin does and, it must be said, so does Doyle, Brian. Once again, he's spun a marvelous tale, weaving light and dark into a multifaceted gem of a book, in which the eccentric cast of characters...is quite capable of inducing both tears and laughter.

— Globe and Mail

Brian Doyle continues to create characters to love and situations that cause tears to flow, through laughter and sorrow. He is a gifted writer whose work belongs in every library...school and public. His stories beg reading aloud in classrooms everywhere.

— Brandon Sun

Like [Boy O'Boy], it's invested with a sense of innocence, is rich in period detail, and is redolent of Doyle's nostalgia for the good old days...Martin and his Grandpa Rip are engaging characters, and Doyle fans will welcome his latest effort.

— Booklist

With his straightforward and uninflected compact sentences, Martin reads like a Hemingway narrator, but one of a tender and hopeful mind and an abiding interest humankind despite his setbacks.

— Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

This is Brian Doyle at his finest: compassionate and tough, in complete control of lucid prose that neither gets in the way nor gives away too much....tenderly hopeful yet also realistic. This is a marvelous read.

— Quill & Quire, STARRED REVIEW


— Reviewers of Young Adult Literature

...a triumphant return...complete with a sparkling array of characters and a story bubbling with drama and tension...Pure Spring is a case of pure pleasure.

— Books in Canada
close this panel

Out of print

This edition is not currently available in bookstores. Check your local library or search for used copies at Abebooks.

Other titles by Brian Doyle

more >

User Activity

more >
Contacting facebook
Please wait...