REVIEW of THE TRUE CONFESSIONS OF CHARLOTTE DOYLE by AVI
Reprint Released September 1, 2012
Avi's treasured Newbery Honor Book now in expanded After Words edition!
Thirteen-year-old Charlotte Doyle is excited to return home from her school in England to her family in Rhode Island in the summer of 1832.
But when the two families she was supposed to travel with mysteriously cancel their trips, Charlotte finds herself the lone passenger on a long sea voyage with a cruel captain and a mutinous crew. Worse yet, soon after stepping aboard the ship, she becomes enmeshed in a conflict between them! What begins as an eagerly anticipated ocean crossing turns into a harrowing journey, where Charlotte gains a villainous enemy . . . and is put on trial for murder!
Avi writes novels for young adults, but don’t feel bashful about heading over to the young adult section of the library for a novel every now and then, especially if that novel is The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle.
This novel could be classified as a “coming-of-age” story, but the change in perspective that the title character acquires through her adventure could happen at any stage of life. And truth be told, we all have experiences, though hopefully not as extreme, that force us to reevaluate our values, culture, and lifestyle.
Here’s the plot: Although Miss Charlotte Doyle is warned from boarding The Seahawk by porters and some of its crew, she has strict orders from her authoritarian father that she should travel on the ship. As the only female on the ship, Charlotte soon finds herself in a world much different from the proper, high-class one she’s used to. She has led a sheltered and privileged life, educated at the best schools, dressed in the finest dresses, and spoiled by her parents and governesses.
Charlotte soon becomes entangled in a vengeful uprising against the captain, becomes a member of the crew, and is accused and convicted of murder. Out of respect for this book and its fine author, I won’t spill any more beans.
Because it’s written for young adults, you’ll be able to whip through this book, and you’ll want to because it’s suspenseful and surprising. If you have children, this would be a fantastic book to read aloud during a long car trip. If you don’t have children, spend a couple of very enjoyable hours curled up with this story. It’ll make you feel brave and a little scared. After it’s over, you may have to wash the sea brine off your face.