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The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  6,872 ratings  ·  856 reviews
A dramatic, witty Civil War tale from bestselling author Rodman Philbrick

Master storyteller Rodman Philbrick takes readers on a colorful journey as young Homer Figg sets off to follow his brother into the thick of the Civil War. Through a series of fascinating events, Homer's older brother has been illegally sold to the Union Army. It is up to Homer to find him and save
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published January 1st 2009 by The Blue Sky Press
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Mynameisthis Yes, it is a very good book with in-depth meaning and a good overall story. I highly recommend this book.…moreYes, it is a very good book with in-depth meaning and a good overall story. I highly recommend this book. (less)
Joaquin No, I ate it. And then knew all about it.?

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 ·  6,872 ratings  ·  856 reviews

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Jan 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Ah, the inveterate child liar. The chronic juvenile dissembler. Is there any more classic character you can name? Whether it's The Artful Dodger, Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer, The Great Brain or Soup from the Soup books, there is always room in the canon for just one more boy fibber (girl fibbers are not yet appearing the same numbers, I'm afraid). Now the best tellers of untrue tales often come from Southern soil. They are born below the Mason-Dixon line and are capable of great feats of derring-do, ...more
Oct 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
One of my favorite parts of each day is when I tuck my kids in bed and read to them. I make the rounds from one bed to the next, with the help of my husband, making sure each child gets a chance to read from his or her own special book. If I take too long getting to my eight year old, Hunters, room, Ill hear his voice, quiet but insistent, asking, Mom, are you going to read to me? It is a special time, and I want to make sure it is enjoyable for my kids, so I am careful about which books I ...more
Jan 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This came in the mail yesterday and since Freak the Mighty is one of my all-time favorite books, I can't wait to read this!

Okay -- just finished it last night. What a rollicking Civil War tall tale! There is no way all these things could happen to one person but they could certainly happen to Homer P. Figg. Loved the way Philbrick plunked us right in the time period -- no explanations here! And the voice! I'm insanely jealous. And I loved the Civil War slang glossary at the back. The author
Luisa Knight
This book kind of reminded me of the Whipping Boy, and how the main character keeps falling in with the wrong crowd in his attempt to rescue his brother. On that count, and due to the people he falls in with in this book, I'd say this is for a slightly older crowd perhaps, though it's still not exactly "mature" content.

When Homer's uncle sells his older brother into soldiering for the Union Army, Homer decides to try escaping his uncle's farm in order to save him. But one thing after another
Jun 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
About as light and humorous as a book about the Civil War and the Battle of Gettysburg can be. This book has echoes of Huck Finn and Jack Gantos. Very well done, and I enjoyed it, but it's not really my cup of tea.
Eva Mitnick
Feb 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children

12-year-old Homer and his older brother Harold have been living with (or rather slaving for) their mean and nasty Uncle Squinton Leach (and a finer name for a villain I have rarely come across) ever since their beloved mother died. Harold has always looked after Homer, so when Uncle Squint illegally sells him into the Union Army, Homer is determined to find him and bring him back.

After Homer runs away, he has three main adventures. During the first, he has a run-in with two nefarious characters
Mar 20, 2012 rated it liked it
Homer Figg is an engaging 11 year old boy from Pine Swamp, Maine in the 1860s. He and his older brother Harold, having been orphaned, have been sent to live with their uncle, Mr. Squinton Leach. Squint is not happy at this turn of events. He makes the boys sleep in the barn, feeds them very little and requires them to do a great deal of the work on his farm.

The story begins when Squint catches Homer eating part of the slops he is to feed to the hogs. A confrontation ensues in which Harold, for
May 18, 2012 rated it liked it
A Newbery Honor book, this Civil War tale about a young boy who searches for his brother after their guardian (illegally) sells him into the army starts off with a bang. Told from Homers perspective, the folksy voice works well here (this is the third book Ive read this year that uses a folksy, down-home voice, and this is the first one that I liked from the start). Theres a lot thats good about this book, but, after a while, it became more quick vignettes instead of a cohesive narrative. Even ...more
May 24, 2016 rated it it was ok
Homer P. Figg is a fun and interesting
Kristen Blackton
Nov 03, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a cute and quick read. Homers adventures were always entertaining, and they reminded me a lot of Odysseus trials (which Im assuming was intentional). The ending, however, was so rushed in comparison with the pace of the rest of the book. Still, an entertaining read that would be a good companion to a study of parts of American history. ...more
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
this book is very welll written and well edited.
May 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Twelve-year-old Homer P. Figg and his older brother Harold live in Pine Swamp, Maine with their uncle, the meanest man in the entire state of Maine. The U.S. Civil War intrudes on their lives when Harold is illegally sold into the Union Army. Bereft, Homer runs away to find his brother, experiencing many outlandish adventures on the way and finally ending up smack dab in middle of the Battle of Gettysburg. Homer is a delightful, spunky boy who tells his story with both humor and pathos in a ...more
Dec 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
I loved this book! Fun tales of adventure, grand schemes and wit. This is perfect for younger ages too, enough fun to keep them from realizing they are learning a little history. And great for adults. This would be a worthy book club pick. I will check out more from this author.
Not exactly the comedy I'd kind of been led to expect by the cover and by many reviews - which is neither the book's nor the author's fault. Instead, it is a clear-eyed Civil War picaresque told by an orphaned boy doggedly searching for his older brother, who has been illegally conscripted into the Union Army. Homer's journey starts at his home in Maine, where he runs into slave-catchers, and moves south, by rail and by steamship, by traveling show and by hot-air balloon, all the way to the ...more
May 17, 2012 rated it liked it
I give this book a 3 star rating because it was very good but it was too sad.I also didn't give it 4 because there are times when it get's too long in the same part.The good part is that it's very funny and adventurous.This is because Homer , the main character tells his thinking which is very funny, and his opinions.Its adventurous because Homer makes a journey where many things happen,and get discovered.It wasn't confusing, I understood everything.These two are my favorite book topics.It ...more
Orphaned at an early age, Homer P. Figg and his brother, Harold are sent to live with their nasty, unscrupulous Uncle Squinton Leach. When Uncle Squint tricks Harold into signing up for the Union Army, Homer is determined to follow his brother and bring him back safely, no matter what the cost. Along the way, he meets up with characters, both unsavory and kind. First he encounters Stink and Smelt who are as smelly as their names and have captured 'Festus'. Festus is really Samuel Reed, a ...more
Mar 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was my non print book.
The Mostly True Adventures o Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick is an entertaining and amusing story about two brothers that live with his Uncle Squinton Leach since their parents passed away. Their Uncle is a nasty man that mistreat, overwork and starve the boys until one day one the boys retaliates but as a punishment their Uncle sells illegally the older of the two brother to the Union Army. Now Homer, which is only 12 years old, is desperate to find his brother
Cindi (Utah Mom’s Life)
Jul 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
Review originally posted on my blog :

I am pleased to introduce a guest blogger/reviewer today. Neal, my ten year old son, is willingly writing this review to earn a later bedtime (because I'm cruel like that).

My mom read The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick to us in the car while we were going on trips this summer. It is a book about a twelve-year-old boy trying to save his brother who was recruited to fight for the Union in the
Telling the truth dont come easy to me, but I will try, even if old Truth aint nearly as useful as a fib sometimes (p 7).

I could not help but think of Mark Twain while reading this book. I think Homer P. Figg and some of Mark Twain's more well known creations would have gotten on well. But then again maybe not, since they would always be trying to out lie and out story tell the other.

Homer P. Figg has a difficult time telling the truth. Ask him a simple question and is as likely as not to start
Paige Bailey
Feb 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Debbie Armbruster
Nov 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
I'm not a huge fan of historical fiction in the first place, but I read this as part of a Children's Literature course and looked at it purely through that lens. Basically, it was okay. I was not blown away, although I could see how it could be a lively read during an American History unit.

The positive: Although convoluted, I could see the constantly changing action hooking kids in, and the writing level is appropriate for older elementary readers. Paired with maps and primary documents, this
Juliette Simpson
The mostly true adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick is a hilarious story of a boy's adventure.

Since their mother died, Harold and Homer Figg must live with their nasty and mean uncle, Squinton Leach. Each day they get into trouble and get an unfair punishment. Each time it was Homer's fault Harold would step up for his little brother. But sadly, one day Harold throws Squints into the mud and Squints angers. Homer and Harold hide, but when Squints passes the barn, they get confused.
Lisa the Librarian
Feb 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a rip-roarin' knee-slapping delight of a tall tale. Much different than the previous book I've read by this author. (Freak the Mighty) I really enjoyed the voice of young Homer.

Set during the Civil War this has a nice historical flavor to it. Well written and full of likable and despicable characters Homer P. Figg is a true winner.

I liked this Newbery Honor book decidedly more than the book that won the actual award that year, When You Reach Me.

Rebecca McPhedran
Jan 13, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, ya-lit
The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg is about a young boy and his brother growing up during the Civil War. Their mean uncle sells Harold off to the Union cause, and Homers main focus is finding him and bringing him back to rural Maine. His adventures include being held at knife-point, taking part in the underground railroad, and taking a hot-air balloon ride. He gets through these adventures but not quite telling the whole truth. He is a love-able character, and you find yourself rooting ...more
Barb Keltner
Dec 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
GREAT book about an orphan boy trying to catch up with his older brother who has been kidnapped and forcibly signed up as a soldier during the Civil War. Things do NOT go smoothly for Homer, which provides the humor and adventure promised in this book, but it was the up-close look at war that took my breath away, especially on page 186 when he makes a list of things he saw on the field of battle, including "men digging like dogs in the dirt to get away from the deadly hail of lead," "things too ...more
Feb 09, 2010 rated it it was ok
This book just won a Newbery Honor (2010) and is written by an author with Maine connection. And Homer is a Mainer! So why don't I love this book? I think it's definitely a "style" issue for me -- the book is almost like a tall tale, with a protagonist who's content to lie at every turn. I tend not to care for books and movies like that. That style gave way to better writing (in my opinion) at the end of the book when Homer found himself in the Battle of Gettysburg with one of Maine's heroes, ...more
Zach Bergstrom
Sep 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
The mostly true adventures of Homer P Figg. I didn't really like this book, even though it had a pretty good plot that was in the civil war. Homer and his brother had lost their parents a few years ago and were sent to their uncle, who hated them. After all of the pain Homer and his brother went through things got worse. Homer's brother was illegally sent into the Civil War. It is a great book for AR and for how much of an easy read it was for me, but I would recommend many more books before ...more
Meredith Armstrong
Dec 12, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
This is the first (and I hope the last) time I have been disappointed by anything with a Newberry stamp on it. The title character's greatest skill is said to be lying, and yet he's really bad at it. Every adult in the book is a charicature rather than a character. The adventures Homer stumbles into would be tolerably if taken individually, but taken together make for a string of ridiculous and implausible events. The ending was unsatisfactory and, frankly, lame. How this ever made the Newberry ...more
Apr 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
This is a spankin' good, laughing out my guts, historical fiction. Homer is a lovable and yet aggravating narrator. I love the historical details that just blend in with the background - you never know when you're learning, cause you're laughing too hard. A great intro to historical fiction for reluctant readers and boys especially. Full review at One Librarian's Book Reviews.
Oct 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
The book got surprisingly dark at the end during the Battle of Gettysburg, but the contrast between Homer's adventures before the battle and during it really made it satisfyingly shocking for me. It might be a bit too much for some kids. For example: "In nightmares I do not hear the cry of wounded horses and think that it is worse than the crying of wounded men because the animals do not understand what has happened to them, or why they have been shot down." Sniff. Sniff.
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Aka William R Dantz, Chris Jordan, W.R. Philbrick.

Rodman Philbrick grew up on the New England coast, where he worked as a longshoreman and boat builder. For many years he wrote mysteries and detective novels. The Private Eye Writers of America nominated two of his T.D.Stash series as best detective novel and then selected Philbrick's 'Brothers & Sinners' as Best Novel in 1993. Writing under

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