“… And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass.” Leviticus 26:19
“When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.” Proverbs 11:2
“Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before the fall.” Proverbs 16:18
What do all these verses have in common?
It’s an area of Johnny’s life that Mr. Lapham, Johnny’s mentor and teacher, is trying to convince him he needs to work on. And it’s true. While 14-year-old Johnny is the backbone of the whole Lapham household, he finds joy in bossing Dove and Dusty, the other apprentices, around. He’s the better silversmith of the three of them, and not only keeps them in line, but also Mr. Lapham himself.
So while Mr. Lapham is grateful that Johnny Tremain can remember orders and is an excellent apprentice, worker, and leader, he knows that Johnny thinks a little too highly of himself.
He’s rude. He’s bossy. And he thinks he’s God’s gift to Boston, Massachusetts.
So when John Hancock comes into Mr. Lapham’s silver shop, Johnny is intent on perfecting and finishing his order. In doing so, however, he has to work double-time, including on the Sabbath, against Mr. Lapham’s orders. And when Johnny burns his hand as a result of Dove’s vindictive actions, everything changes.
Johnny’s hand is strange-looking. His thumb is melted to the rest of his hand. He’s in much pain, and learns that boys with crippled hands cannot be silversmiths.
He must swallow his pride, now, to find new work, new housing, and a new life…
Yes, we’re starting with the positive content first, because there’s so much of it.
I enjoyed this story tremendously. It’s a great piece of historical fiction, and you are introduced to timeless “characters” like John Hancock, Paul Revere, and Samuel Adams. All the characters are very likeable: Rab, the boy who works at the printing shop and has a way of cheering you up and making you happy without saying a word; Cilla, the long-suffering Lapham girl who loves Johnny despite his sometimes harsh manner; James Otis, who everyone insists is crazy but still has a few wise words to say.
It’s a story about change, and friendships that remains despite the change. It’s about humility and kindness, loyalty and bravery. It’s so many good things wrapped into one.
Tongue Scale: rated “Slap On the Wrist”
Someone calls a girl a “slut”. “D*mn” and “hell” are used inappropriately a few times.
Firecracker Scale: rated “Kindling”
Gore Gauge: rated “People Die”
I don’t recall the violence in this being particularly terrible, but it’s there. It’s set during a war. And during war, people die. There’s fighting. It’s the way of life, and it’s prevalent in this story.
Other Negative Content:
Rab and Johnny intentionally get Dove drunk to get information out of him. But really, I’m just pulling at strings here.
Despite that, this story is definitely a treasure. Although the story ends on a sad note, you’re still left with a feeling of strong patriotism. It’s one that I see myself reading time and time again. I see myself reading it to my children, and then passing my battered copy off for them to read.
On a side note, guys, I just wanted to talk about something. I have been told by a few people that my Mortal Instruments and Divergent reviews were both very harsh (which is funny considering I liked Divergent!). Don’t get me wrong, I agree! But I want to put something straight: as I write more reviews, I want to be sure that I am equally critical of all the books I critique.
That means that even the books I like and enjoy need to be analyzed, discussed and evaluated. I don’t want to be the person who’s like, “Gandalf is awesome!” and then, “Harry Potter’s the devil!” …. They’re both wizards, aren’t they? If we’re going to hate on wizards, make sure you hate all of them.
I plan on doing a review on Harry Potter sometime, but probably when I get a bit more experience and I have done proper research. I don’t want my judgement of the story to be clouded because I like Harry Potter. I want to give an accurate analysis and make sure that I am just as critical as I am with other books. That means that I will probably have to tear the whole series apart.
I do not want to be seen as hypocritical, and I want to make sure that my reviews are always Biblically based and solid, and not just my opinions (although there will be some of those).
Anyway, my next review will hopefully come out next week sometime, and I’m planning on doing it on Uglies, by Scott Westerfeld. (Very interesting read, I would recommend it to anyone who’s into dystopians.)