Wednesday, February 21, 2007


by Karen Hesse

One drawback to reading the books assigned by my daughter's curriculum is that I start to get bored with reading about the same events or the same settings. A few months back I had gotten my fill of Leonardo da Vinci, Queen Elizabeth I and the whole Renaissance. These days, as my daughter studies the age of exploration and colonization, I'm starting to tire of reading accounts of ocean voyages. If I read about seasickness, scurvy and wormy biscuits too many more times, I'm going to have to start seeking out a copy of Dune or Lawrence of Arabia or something. On the other hand, sometimes a book is so well written that one can gloss over the same old, same old and enjoy the milieu afresh. Such is the case of this book. Stowaway is the fictionalized tale of Nicholas Young, a young lad who journeyed around the world with Captain James Cook on his 1768 to 1771 voyage. Young's name suddenly appears in the ship's log eight months after the ship sailed from England, leading historians to speculate that he was a stowaway. Ms. Hesse has taken that idea, as well as the historical records of the voyage, and woven them together to make a great tale. She made the voyage come alive, allowing me to taste the joy and emotional hardships experienced by young Nick. I'll never complain about flight delays again... well, at least not often. Anyway, I'm really toying with the idea of hanging onto the book after the kids' school days have passed. One thing is certain, though, Stowaway is well worth checking out.
LibraryThing link


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