Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Journey of Little Charlie

The Journey of Little Charlie. Christopher Paul Curtis. 2018. 256 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: I'd seent plenty of animals by the time I was old 'nough to start talking, but only one kind worked me up so much that it pult the first real word I said out my mouth.

Premise/plot: Charlie Bobo is anything but little, he's enormous for his age. After his father's tragic death, this twelve-year-old is forced to grow up super-fast. "Captain" Buck appears on the scene, threatening him and his mother, and, well he won't take no for an answer. Charlie will join him on a journey north to recover stolen goods--or else.

The journey is a physical one, of course, but it's also symbolic. Charlie is journeying from being a boy to being a young man and determining who he is and who he wants to be. One thing he knows from the start, he does NOT want to follow in the footsteps of Cap'n Buck. He does not want to learn what the old man is teaching.

My thoughts: The Journey of Little Charlie surprised me. Charlie is poor; he's white; and he's fallen into the hands of a slave-catcher. Charlie has never really thought much about darkies or slaves. He's never considered their plight or fate. He's always been too concerned with his own. He comes from a family of sharecroppers. If they've managed to have a few pieces of furniture in their shack and some food on the table, well, it's a blessing to be thankful for and not anything to be taken for granted. Captain Buck does not realize that Charlie is a thoughtful, reflective young man and not a thug. He's counting on Charlie to be impressionable and obedient--to be the bully, brute force when needed since he's so big.

I do wish the author's note had been at the BEGINNING of the novel. I think it would have helped me appreciate the novel sooner. 

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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