Heather's Reviews > The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
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's review
Feb 25, 12

bookshelves: children, historical-fiction, novels, awards-newbery
Read from February 23 to 25, 2012

** spoiler alert ** 1991 Newbery Honor

Charlotte Doyle boards a ship from Liverpool to join her family in America and finds herself joining the crew in mutiny against a mad, brutal captain.

This well-paced book kept me turning pages and was an exciting adventure read for kids. It was subversive in terms of women's traditional roles--Charlotte dresses up as a male sailor and the rest of the crew begins calling her Mr. Doyle (my husband was the first to notice the hilariously-placed telescope that Charlotte is holding on the cover of the version I read).

I wasn't really satisfied with Avi's attempt at showing girls that they can do whatever they want, though, mostly because of the ending. I didn't feel like Charlotte ultimately had any truly good choices in her life. It was either stay with her oppressive, snobby family or run off to the life of a sailor, sleeping with cockroaches and losing all of her teeth to scurvy. Obviously, I have no romantic feelings whatsoever toward shipboard life.
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