The True Adventures of Charley Darwin
, by Carolyn Meyer, which I just finished last night.
But before we dig into the review, a couple news tidbits:
Author Kim Vandervort is up this week on Heroines of Fantasy
with a great post on Summer Reading
. Stop by to see her recommendations, and share yours.
On my blog for Eolyn,
I'm offering a virtual tour of the Arkansas Ozarks, where we spent the last week trapsing through beautiful forests in search of pumas, dragons and other mystical creatures. (You'll have to visit the blog to know what we found...) I'll also give you a sneak preview of one of the most important characters for the sequel to Eolyn
, the lovely and courageous Adiana. All this and more in my recent post Music in the Forest
All in all, I've had a great start to the summer. The Hadley Rille Fest during ConQuesT in Kansas City was just wonderful; lots of great authors & awesome story telling. I really hope the HRB crew will all come back to KCMO for ConQuesT again next year. After that, as I mentioned, I went to the Ozarks with my husband and a very good friend of ours. And now I'm preparing for a new adventure in Costa Rica -- stay tuned for more news on that.
Now here's my review:The True Adventures of Charley Darwin, by Carolyn Meyer
This wonderful YA historical novel relates the story of young Charles Darwin in a way that allows every reader to experience his journey of discovery. We meet Charley as a boy who prefers to hunt newts in the quarry rather than study Latin and Greek in the classroom; we sympathize with his plight as a youth under immense pressure to pursue careers in which he has no interest; and we experience the excitement of destiny realized when the young man embarks on a perilous journey that will forever transform the way he (and the rest of the world) understands the origin and complexity of life.
Written in the voice of Charley Darwin, the text is accessible and thoroughly engaging for all readers who are young, and young at heart. The story focuses on Charley as a person – his relationships with friends, family and cousins, his struggles with questions of career and marriage. We see his curiosity, enthusiasm, courage and uncertainty, his humility and pride, his capacity for compassion and dedication to his work. The romances with Fanny Owen and Emma Wedgewood are thoroughly charming in their awkwardness, heartache, and (in the case of one, at least) fulfillment.
In her interpretation of the character of Charley Darwin, Meyer takes the myth out of the personae, and turns this sometimes controversial historical figure into an engaging young man we might have all admired and befriended, had we had the opportunity to know him personally.
Though Darwin’s coming of age takes center stage, the thread of science is constant throughout, allowing young readers a basic introduction to the foundations and logic of evolutionary theory as originally conceived by this brilliant natural historian. We see, step by small step, how Charley Darwin’s keen eye for natural history led him from a very early age toward the inevitable development of the theory that would revolutionize science and inaugurate a new era of biological inquiry.
Most of all, True Adventures is a great read. I would recommend it without reservation for anyone interested in adventure, history, biology, evolution, exploration, and the ever-appealing theme of coming-of-age.
Every once in a great while, I post a book review on Amazon/Goodreads. It never occurred to me until today, that I could also crosspost reviews here. So this is what I'm doing today: posting a review of the wonderful novel