The Trial of Duddy Kravitz

This is Academy Award week and one the films in line for best picture is a brilliant courtroom drama titled Anatomy of a Fall ((Anatomie d’une chute).


My family has always loved courtroom dramas. So I created trials with and for my students.
Here is a piece about Duddy Kravitz, the protagonist of Mordecai Richer’s splendid novel, whom my students were asked to put on trial.


The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz


For those who haven’t read the novel, here’s a quick summary:


The novel focuses on the early life of Duddy Kravitz, a poor Jewish boy raised in Montreal. His family, friends, and teachers, along with his lover, contribute to Duddy’s burgeoning obsession with power and money – epitomized by his burning desire to own land.


Here’s how the trial of Duddy unfolded in the classroom:

The jury was asked to judge Duddy on the basis of the following questions:

Is what Duddy does primarily his fault?  Does he have any choice or is he a victim of society and of his deprived background?

Should we forgive Duddy because others are sometimes worse than he?

In other words….

Is Duddy “guilty” (of cruelty, greed and indifference to others), or is he more a victim of a deprived background and a world crueller than he?

The trial highlighted the age-old debate concerning free will versus determinism and led to fierce debates, in short to courtroom drama. Friendships were forged; enmities developed; and some participants even fell in love!

Here’s how the trial was structured in a class of about 30 students.


3-4 prosecution lawyers


3-4 defense lawyers


Jury (8-10)











Mordecai Richler


Mr. Friar



Mr. Cohen

Here are the instructions given to the students:


*judgment of case – based on your reading and of case as presented


-invite “surprise” witnesses from outside (teacher “experts”)


-wear costumes


-lawyers:  attack witnesses for fun


-lawyers:  share load; divide up witnesses be prepared for all witnesses – meet before class to plan approach


-witnesses:  act as you imagine that character would act – be bold, even outrageous


-jury and lawyers – final speech – should be VERY lively (not just read); you are graded on lively nature of the thing, on how interesting it is


-prosecution and defense will alternate in the calling of witnesses


-call only witnesses who will do your case some good


-try to avoid interrogating witnesses for more than 5 to 7 minutes; avoid repeating questions already asked (8 minutes maximum)


-lawyers – make speeches at end to jury; speeches at the beginning too


-jury member and judge can question witnesses too


-witnesses are invited to ask questions as well


-lawyers – can object to questions if they harass a witness or if the lawyer is putting words in the witness’s mouth or making a speech


*At the end of the trial, all students will be asked to decide whether Duddy is “guilty” or “innocent” and to support their arguments.


This classroom exercise was a major highlight of my 35-year + teaching career!


Lancement du livre  Book launch

Je suis ravi d’annoncer le lancement de la version française de mon livre. I’m thrilled to announce the launching of the French version of my book.

Recyclage du livre My Time with You Has Been Short but Very Funny

en français!


Titre du projet : Le temps passé avec vous fut bref mais tordant


Message de l’éditeur    Publisher’s message    (English to follow)


Nous vous félicitons ! Nous avons terminé la distribution de votre livre aux canaux suivants :


  • Ingramspark Paperback
  • Enhanced Amazon Distribution
  • Kindle Ebook
  • Kobo Ebook
  • Smashwords Ebook
  • Ingramspark Hardcover


Qu’est-ce que cela signifie ?


Votre livre sera bientôt disponible à la vente auprès des détaillants en ligne abonnés à ces canaux (tels que Barnes & Noble et Amazon). En règle générale, les livres électroniques sont disponibles au bout d’un jour ou deux, mais les listes de livres imprimés mettent souvent plus de temps à apparaître sur les sites web des détaillants.

Project Title: ‘Le temps passé avec vous fut bref mais tordant’

Hello Robert,

Congratulations! We have completed your book distribution to the following channels:

  • Ingramspark Paperback
  • Enhanced Amazon Distribution
  • Kindle Ebook
  • Kobo Ebook
  • Smashwords Ebook
  • Ingramspark Hardcover


What does this mean?

Your book will soon be available for sale through the online retailers that subscribe to these channels (such as Barnes & Noble and Amazon).Typically, eBooks become available in a day or two, but print book listings often take longer to appear on retail websites.

I’ve been recycled at long last!



Robert McBryde Author: IndieReader approved, adolescence, hippies, pop music, 1960s, 1970s, blogging, social media,  CBC radio, literary non-fiction, tales, short stories, vignettes, immigrant experience, sports, Quebec anglos, living in France,  childhood and animal stories, creative memoirs, satire, autobiography, family relations, fathers, raising children, aging, facing death, fear of death, travel, social commentary, love and marriage, translation: English-French; French-English

Publisher’s Note:  Funny, manic, and wistful… self-deprecating creative nonfiction…The author, Robert McBryde, a professional translator, has been compared to David Sedaris for the sometimes-snarky autobiographical satire characterizing his literary sketches. Many of the stories in his new book, titled My Time with You Has Been Short but Very Funny, have been featured on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio network.

Author’s Note:

I’ve written a new book of creative non-fiction titled My Time with You Has Been Short but Very Funny, recently published and now on the market. The book is based on stories that I told over the years as a writer/ broadcaster and host on CBC radio based in Quebec City, Canada.

The book is available via my website. The purchase links are at the bottom of the home page.

Normally I will post at least two blogs per week. Stay tuned…especially Wednesdays and Fridays.

If you purchase a book via the platform of your choice, please leave a review.

Here is an excerpt from my IndieReader review:

“[This] memoir is… an enjoyable and touching read. Radio listeners in Quebec are already familiar with the wit and wisdom of Robert McBryde. The non-fiction collection, MY TIME WITH YOU HAS BEEN SHORT BUT VERY FUNNY, gives the rest of the world access to the author’s inimitable style.”

“Please note that [this] book received a rating of 4 stars or above, making it “IndieReader Approved”, a designation we created to make it easier for readers and booksellers to identify quality indie titles. Post the sticker proudly, knowing that your title was judged by top industry professionals—not as merely a great indie book—but as great book, period.”

Here is a link to a cool group book review blog:

My Time With You Has Been Short But Very Funny, a review by Di


And this is a link to Goodreads. A great place to learn about new books and to read reviews.

Di’s review of My Time with You Has Been Short but Very Funny

And, finally, a review from Amazon…


A Spirited Dive into Life’s Laughter and Tears (


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Happy reading! 😊

Your friend,