Jackson Radish's Reviews > Revolver

Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick
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Mar 26, 12

bookshelves: teen, historical, guys-read, bullying
Read from March 20 to 25, 2012

I read this book for my “Guys Read” book club and really enjoyed it. It’s a really quick read—it’s written at a very accessible reading level and the short chapters help it to move very quickly. There are a couple story lines going on at once—one is the present and the other stories are kind of giving back stories about this kid’s family throughout the story. From the sound of it, the story does not seem like it would be very action-y, as almost the entire “present” of the story takes place in a secluded cabin with only two people present, but it actually has a very exciting action-y vibe mixed in which was really well done and interesting.

There is also some cool sciencey stuff mixed in, including information on how to test the purity of gold and information about the exact mechanics and chemical reactions of a revolver. This was really interesting, as I always love it when there are little facts I pick up from reading fiction.

The main character, Sig, is a teenager who is suddenly and recently orphaned and instantly put into a situation where he is on his own and his values and moral center are tested. The book centers around the defining experience in this teen’s life which takes him from being a kid to being an adult. He thinks a lot throughout the book about the morals and values each of his parents tried to pass on to him. His parents actually differed a lot in their values, so he has a lot of information with which to make his decisions, but no clear, easy “right” answer. He really has to figure out who he is and define himself as an adult while stranded and trapped in this really scary situation. One of the pieces of wisdom his mother had passed on to him was “when you’re stuck between two impossible choices, there’s always a third way. You just have to look for it.” This becomes an important theme in how he reconciles the very different sets of values his parents passed on to him and tries to find his own values. It’s a really interesting story of a teen figuring out who he is independent of his parents and beyond the fact that the action of the story was gripping, this was really where the interest in the story lay for me.

As suggested by the title, gun issues play a central role in this story. I am generally pretty firm in my hatred of guns and I get kind of annoyed when people start spouting all this pro-gun stuff (seriously, you're not going to change my mind so if that's your goal, don't bother, but if you want to have an interesting discussion, go ahead, we might have fun!). I also really enjoy stuff that expands my mind and gets me to think outside of comfortably held beliefs, though. This book provided me with some great things to chew on in terms of the way I think about guns and generally expanded my mind in great ways. That is not to say it changed my mind—the author really does not take a stance either way on guns and the book is not preachy about anything at all—it just made me think about issues involving guns (specifically handguns) in a way that I enjoyed. I think any open minded person on either side of gun issues (although the construct of there being only 2 sides to any issue is also examined in interesting ways in this book!) would probably have a similarly intellectually stimulating experience reading this book.
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03/23/2012 page 45
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