Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Charlatan's Boy by Jonathan Rogers

This is a novel suggested for young adults and while I am not one, I do enjoy reading them to see what the publishers are providing for our young people.  I found this book disappointing.
The action takes place on an island of the geography and culture of the U. S. southern states.  The time is about 150 years ago, when there were still cow rustlers and wagons as transport.  The main character is a young orphan, found by a traveling charlatan, and put to work in the charlatan's scams. 
After a suitable beginning, the action becomes very slow and very repetitive.  I just cannot see a young person slogging through to the very end.  At the end the action resumes, but, then it is the end of the book!
I didn't like the language as the characters speak in "cowboy" talk ("perfesser" for professor, "naw," "reckon").  The non-dialogue parts of the book are written in the youth's voice ("we seen," "Floyd and me,"), which I didn't like either.  I just cannot see an intelligent young person liking this book. 
The book does not have a Christian theme to it.  In fact, it is almost the opposite, with so much of the story based on deception.
In a sense, the exciting end of the book justifies the novel's existence.  But it was a long way getting there!

WaterBrook Press, 305 pages.

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