Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Johnny Tremain

Finished Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes. It won the Newbery Medal in 1944. Set in Boston on the brink of the American Revolution, the book is about Johnny, an orphan who is a gifted apprentice to a silversmith. When Johnny's hand is badly burned and scarred after a prank gone wrong, played on him by one of his fellow apprentices, Johnny must give up his his work as silversmith. He becomes bitter and disillusioned until he meets Rab, a boy just a bit older than him who sets type at The Boston Observer, a newspaper run by the rebels. Rab takes an interest in Johnny, helps him get work and shares his accommodations with him. Johnny soon becomes embroiled in the Patriots' plans to defy King George. This leads to The Boston Tea Party and the Battles of Lexington and Concord. Figures such as Sam Adams, John Hancock and Paul Revere are among those that Johnny rubs elbows with and even works with in the quest for America's freedom from England. I found this book of particular interest because Johnny makes acquaintance with, and even sympathizes with, several British soldiers who he does not see as enemies. So in some ways, both sides of the story are told to an extent.

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