Honest to good this book has been one of the best in the sense that the author is really able to create a image to help the reader relate to the story. Brown does this really well in this book and I would have to say his portrayal of the Great Depression is not only very accurate but also moving and the reader can feel the struggles felt at the time. It was really depressing to feel everything that the character Joe, the main character, has to go through. His experiences are rough and have a wide enough variety that most people can relate to at least one of the experiences. The thing that is really disheartening is the fact that a real person experienced this as the book is based off a true story. The struggles he faced versus the struggles I have faced are not even in the same category yet I seem to think that my simple struggles are the worst thing in the world.
I first picked out this book because my parents had recommended it and secondly I was maybe thinking of doing something with Rowing the next year so I thought the book would help convince me to do rowing. It has done the exact opposite of that and has made me stay away. Brown describes the training for the rigorous sport to the smallest detail. Just the fact that one rowing race “takes the same amount of energy as playing two basketball games back to back” is enough for me to say no to the sport. This quote really shows Browns brilliance in how he is able to draw a really powerful image in a person’s head without using super complicated terms or long sentences. Just this quote creates an image as pushing your muscles to the toughest and being so exhausted you might pass out. Brown does this so many times in the book and I continue to read the book for those small descriptions.
The emphasis on teamwork can also be really moving within the book. Just seeing the brotherhood between all these boys with different stories coming around and bonding around a common interest is really something special. This not only allows for heart-moving scenes between characters but allows further depth into the theme of the book, Self Vs. Community. This theme is something all humans will have to figure out at one point in their life. Is it better to do something for oneself or to do something for the community. The answer that our body wants to say is do something for yourself. The answer our heart, and every singe person in society wants to answer is do something for the community. It seems obvious that one should be doing things for the community, but this book really dives in deeper into what is actually better.
I hate to be a sucker and leave this for last but this just is to glaring to leave behind. This book is just to hard to get through. Whenever I’m reading it, I always want to put it down and I’ll put the blame on the writers style. The main problem is the book has not convinced me to care about the plot of the book. In the best works of literature the author makes the reader emotionally attached to a character or characters so that they can care about what happens to that character. The author does none of that and spends no time making me care about the main character Joe. All he has done is describe some living conditions that were terrible growing up but if I wanted to feel bad about people’s living conditions I wouldn’t be reading this book. I wanted to read this book to see a thrill of rowing and the fun with it, but the book so far is just a continuous cycle of rowing practice and flashbacks. To put it simply I don’t really care for this book as the author has done nothing to make me have an incentive to do so.