25 March 2012

Book Review: The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle


Here goes my first book review!

Title: The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle
Author: Avi

Synopsis: A thirteen year old girl, Charlotte Doyle, is on her way from England to the United States in 1832. With her parents having gone on before her and the families she was supposed to be traveling with last minute dropping out, Charlotte is the only female and non-crew member on a ship with a "ruthless captain and the rage of a mutinous crew" (back cover). Faced with moral decisions and then charges of murder, this first hand account depicts a girl's controversial mindset while stranded in an ocean onboard a terrifying journey.

Positives: Charlotte Doyle matures greatly throughout the book, beginning as a girl who only does what she is told, never thinking for herself. In the end she is able to differentiate the spirit of the law from the letter of the law and understand the principles behind the rules her father gave her. Charlotte also learns not to judge by appearances, a prominent weakness of hers as the book begins.

Negatives: Some violence is present due to the nature of the story rising to a murder towards the end of the book but none too graphic. Charlotte chooses to dress and act like a sailor even indulging in some crude language (the author doesn't write what she says). Charlotte's parents are neglectful though sometimes in subtle ways.

Messages:
-Don't judge by appearances
-Follow the principles or the spirit of the law rather than the letter
-A question of true justice
-Some things cannot (and should not) be forgotten

Conclusion: An engaging book with definite change in character by Charlotte Doyle, including aspects of mystery, adventure, and intrigue! A very though provoking book, causing the reader to consider things like injustice, abuse, neglect, survival, and the consequences of telling the truth to the wrong person. Written to a more mature audience due to the difficult themes present in the book, and the puzzling decision of Charlotte Doyle at the end of the book, I would recommend this for ages 14+, primarily for girls though some boys may enjoy it.

Rating: 5 (loved it!)

This book is definitely a favorite!

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