Posted Saturday, March 24, 2007
I spent all day reading a new book I got from Barnes & Noble. I couldn't put it down, so I just kept reading until the end. The book was about a boy named Skiff whose mom just died. He is very sad and misses his mom. His dad is so depressed that he doesn't do anything but sit around and watch TV and drink beer. It's like he lost his ability to function since his wife died.
Skiff is mad at his dad because they don't have any money to pay the bills, since his dad won't get up from the couch. His dad is a fisherman and they live by the river in Maine. They have a fishing boat, but since his dad doesn't get up except to go to the bathroom, he let the boat fill up with water and it sank at the dock.
I could really sense Skiff's frustration at his dad in this story. It's almost like Skiff's the adult and his dad is twelve, and not the other way around. Skiff gets some help from some of his dad's friends to raise the boat, and starts working on it to get the engine working and things going on it again. Skiff has a plan to try to get some money for the family and get his dad on his feet again. But its going to take a lot of work, and time.
Skiff has a couple of problems though. There are some jerk kids in his town that make fun of him because his mom died and his dad is depressed. They also taunt Skiff because his dad is a fisherman. They really make Skiff mad, especially one kid, Tyler Croft. He's a rich kid who is rotten to the core and when Skiff tries his hardest to earn some money for the family setting out lobster traps in the bay, Tyler sneaks out in the middle of the night and cuts the lines and empties the traps.
After a midnight run-in (literally) with Tyler, Skiff realizes that he is going to have to do something drastic to get some serious cash for the family. He hatches an idea to go out and catch a 500-lb tuna. It gets very exciting at this point and I just could NOT put the book down even when it was dinner time. I literally scarfed my meal and then went right back to finish the book.
I got a lot of good things from this book, "The Young Man and the Sea" by Rodman Philbrick (2004, Blue Sky Press). I really liked learning all about fishing and lobster trapping in New England. I also really identified with Skiff and his frustrations, and admire his perseverance and not giving up under terrible circumstances. I also liked the fact that over time, he began to cope with his mom's death.
PARENTS' NOTE: This book is good clean reading, exciting and inspirational. Highly recommended from a mom.
The Young Man and the Sea by Rodman Philbrick, Published: 2004 by Blue Sky Press, 192 pagesThe Young Man and the Sea - New and Used copies for sale