Houghton Mifflin. 1987. 175 pp.
“Mac” is a bit dated with some of its technological and current events references but its storyline, unfortunately, will never get old. Mac was a normal 14 year old boy, bantering with his friends at lunch, struggling with what to say and how to act around his first real girlfriend, and enjoying his position as goalie for the school’s soccer team and being a member of the ski team. Everything came to a crashing halt after he got a physical and was sexually assaulted by his doctor.
Maclean doesn’t tell us all the details of what happened to Mac on that fateful day, but readers soon find out something went very wrong. Mac changes drastically, almost overnight, but no one in authority seemed to pin it down to anything important. His reactions, and everyone else’s, reminded me of what happened to Melinda in Laurie Halse Anderson’s “Speak,” which would be a great companion novel to this book. As I read, I felt Mac’s unspoken pain and hoped someone would come to his rescue before he took matters into his own hands.
“Mac” and “Speak” are important books for mature students aged 14 and older to read and discuss with each other and an adult to understand that, if something as terrible as sexual assault happens to them, it is not their fault and help is available.