Monday, February 26, 2018

MMGM: The Book of Boy by Catherine Gilbert Murdock


Boy has always been relegated to the outskirts of his small village. With a large hump on his back, a mysterious past, and a tendency to talk to animals, he is often mocked and abused by the other kids in his town. Until the arrival of a shadowy pilgrim named Secondus. Impressed with Boy’s climbing and jumping abilities, Secondus engages Boy as his servant, pulling him into an expedition across Europe to gather the seven precious relics of Saint Peter. Boy quickly realizes this journey is not an innocent one. They are stealing the relics, and gaining dangerous enemies in the process. But Boy is determined to see this pilgrimage through until the end—for what if St. Peter can make Boy’s hump go away?

This compelling, action-packed tale is full of bravery and daring, stars a terrific cast of secondary characters, and features an unlikely multigenerational friendship at its heart. Memorable and haunting, Catherine Gilbert Murdock’s epic medieval adventure is just right for readers of Sara Pennypacker’s Pax, Adam Gidwitz’s The Inquisitor’s Tale, and Pam Muñoz Ryan’s Echo.

Features a map and black-and-white art throughout.


Medieval stories aren't really my favorites, but I'd heard good things about this one so I decided to pick it up.  Unfortunately, it turned out to be not really my thing.  The book does have plenty of good things going for it though.  The writing is excellent, the plot compelling, and the characters intriguing.  The details about life at the time including disease, injury, and religious beliefs are all well presented.  Those who enjoyed The Inquisitor's Tale will probably like this one, the two books have a similar type of story with similarly unique characters.  The problems I had with this one are similar to the problems I had with The Inquisitor's Tale and relate to my own religious beliefs.  I'm not a fan of stories that involve taking liberties with religious beliefs, people, and organizations.  That very much happens here in relation to ideas about hell, angels, and 'earning' one's way to heaven by collecting so-called religious relics.  And the fact that Secondus is stealing the relics with Boy's help doesn't make me feel any better.  The book may be considered a Newbery contender by some, but I'm afraid that like The Inquisitor's Tale, this one is going to have a very selective audience.  Specifically those who like unusual stories that take place in a hard-to-relate-to time period with rather unusual religious aspects to it.  I have a hard time getting kids to pick up historical fiction as it is, I'm afraid this one might be a hard sell despite how well done it is.

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