Cindy Benabderrahman's Reviews > My One Hundred Adventures

My One Hundred Adventures by Polly Horvath
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's review
Apr 03, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: books-4-children, edu-543-lit-4-children-project, ya, books-with-whales-in-them
Recommended for: people who like moby dick
Read in April, 2009 , read count: 1

This is the a story about a boy who sees whales. That should be enough. But as charming as that is, the story is really about his sister Jane, and how she grows up a lot, all in one little summer—the last summer she’ll be the girl who lives in a beach house all year long. It’s a hard summer, because her prayer has been granted, or so she thinks. She has prayed for one hundred adventures, because she thinks, as all young girls do, that nothing ever happens to her. When things start happening, she is elated. Along the way, she learns some hard truths: the difference between spirituality and faith, the economics of friendship, and the value of responsibility. When her brother Max is pulled to sea on a raft, she swims out to save him, where she finally sees one of his whales just as it chomps down her father, who she only met once before. This is a story about the powers of prayers, knowing the difference between seeing and believing, and finding that place where you finally understand that one hundred adventures is only the beginning. This is a story about a boy who never sees whales again.

Once in a while, I meet a precocious child who delights me with a big vocabulary and a mind-made-up attitude about what’s what with the world. This is the little girl for whom this book was written. It’s definitely not for everyone (there’s a librarian on Amazon who thinks it’s a book for artsy grown-ups who would pretend their children are geniuses) but I think adults don’t give children enough credit. I would have loved this book in the 4th grade, especially as an alternative to many books that are afraid to take risks like Horvath and therefore rely on toilet humor and stale plot lines to carry them through their formulaic fictions. This book is a charmer, and Jane just radiates truth. Lots of people complain about clichés, but when we’re given characters that break the mold, they reject them. I embrace these ones. They are treasures. I can’t wait to read this one aloud to my nephew, who loves whales as much as I do.


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