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Monday, June 28, 2010

West to the Sun...Review

About the book:
In his new historical adventure novel, West to the Sun, author T.G. Good portrays for his juvenile audience the pioneering spirit in America's past and shows the sacrifices that made America great and the struggles that any people go through to learn the value of family, friends and faith.

Accompanied by a long line of adventurers, some rich, some poor, some in wagons, some pushing carts, some just walking, the Jedediah Symons family makes its way across the country to Oregon in the 1800's. They battle disease, hunger and wild animals and through it all eleven year old Jeremiah Symons continually asks himself what he can do to help his family reach Oregon, their new home.

The trek along the Oregon Trail is one of the largest migrations of American people and in some ways defines the American spirit of adventure. From the daily drudgery of walking mile after mile to the excitement of buffalo hunts, to the thrill of seeing mountains reaching the sky, and bighorn sheep battling for primacy, young Jeremiah experiences a different learns what it means to be a man.

Author T.G. Good offers this fictional tribute to the spirit of individuals willing to leave behind a known life to build a new home in the American West. Concerned that there has been too much recent emphasis on the negatives of American history, Good hopes to present to his youthful audience the essentially positive nature of the American spirit.

"Although our national history is not one of total purity," Good acknowledges, he wants to show people like the Symons family who lived their values and followed their dreams because families like this show the best of the human spirit.

Told from the perspective of young Jeremiah Symons, West to the Sun, is a fascinating look at the western migration. His family's trip isn't without tragedy and trial but Jeremiah learns about faith and family and hard work. Jeremiah is a great kid and I think a lot of boys would relate to his voice.  There are some laugh-out-loud funny parts as he deals with some of the other, more obnoxious boys also on the wagon train.

The Symon's family's faith is an integral part of their lives and so the novel is Christian in nature.  While Jeremiah often sounds older than his 11 years and the narration is somewhat formal in dialogue, the story flows well, with a terrific historical aspect and research.  I anxiously awaited and recognized their their arrival in Idaho.

As the Symon's wagon train comes upon a Mormon wagon train, I appreciated Jedidiah's explanation to his son that while he disagreed with the Mormon faith, he didn't approve of the persecutions they received.

While geared to pre-teen boys, girls and adults will enjoy this novel.  It's easy to read and fascinating from a historical perspective.  With vivid descriptions, this is a well researched story and would be a great book to read aloud with your children. 

Thanks to the author and Bostick Communications for the opportunity to review this book.  You can purchase your own copy here.  When the boy gets around to finally reading it, his review will be posted too.

Read 6/10

* * * *
4/5 Stars

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