The Boys in the Boat By Daniel Brown

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.

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One response to “The Boys in the Boat By Daniel Brown

  1. jefferysun1234


    I’m going to completely change my view on this book and say that it is actually a lot better than I described it as. The second half of this book was a much more thrilling to experience. Though I still believe the first half of the book was very dull and boring, I believe it set up the stage for the second half to be very successful. I disagree with how the author just set up everything at the same time, but it proved to be useful.

    The main events that happen during this part of the book is the different races and struggle that the characters go through. The experiences that the boys have are so amazing and just seem unreal to me. All the ups and downs that eventually lead to their ultimate goal of winning a gold medal. The race scenes are described to the smallest details and that is what makes the book so much better. The reader gets to experience the race through the eyes of the people on the boat making it that much more exciting. When the author describes the pain they felt while rowing I was feeling that exact pain as well. Throughout the second half the author doesn’t describe the scenery with lots of details, and instead uses the talent displayed in the first half of the book to describe the characters. The reader learns everything about every single character that is prominent in the story. Everything, even down to what they are going to eat for breakfast the day of a certain race. The author displays each character in a way that they can appeal to a wide variety of audiences.

    The many characters in the book are also the major problem that I found in the second half of the book. The second half of the book has so many characters i got completed lost to which person was which. The names of the character’s are such generic names like Joe, Richard, and Roger, so it is very easy to get all the character mixed up.

    The themes of Self Vs. Community are further developed in the second half of the book. It is revealed that the main group of characters are struggling to row at a high level because they are not giving themselves to the team. That is especially prominent in the main character Joe who has trust issues. The only way for them to win is totally trust in each other. The author explores this theme through a variety of different characters and eventually comes to the point where the boys have become so close knit it is hard for them to not rely on each other. The message is a positive but common, making it not have a especially great influence.

    A controversial thing that I saw the author did was say in the title that the Boys were going to win gold at the Olympics. Sorta like what Shakespeare does with Romeo and Juliet and literally tells the audience what is going to happen at the very end. This resulted in me not really caring what was going to happen in each race and made the races less thrilling because I knew at the very end of the story they were going to be walking away from the Olympics with a gold medal.

    Overall I gave the book a 7/10 because it is a little boring in the beginning plot wise but contains some incredible imagery and descriptions by the author.

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