Laura Harrison's Reviews > The Journey of Little Charlie
The Journey of Little Charlie
I was so sure I would love this book. I am a huge Christopher Paul Curtis fan. The Journey of Little Charlie was disappointing to say the least. Even the cover art is misleading. It gives you the impression that it is about two boys who are traveling together. They do at the very end. Maybe 4 pages worth. Traveling is an overstatement. Mostly they are on a train together. The book was not a fun read. I doubt children will enjoy it. There is sadness and abuse or at least the threat of it throughout. In animal and human form. Some of the abuse is actually explained so you know exactly what it is and how it is done. No thanks. I could have done without the details. I can't think of a joyous moment or any feeling of real happiness. In the beginning you think it may be a boy and his loyal dog story. That sweet premise ends rather abruptly. Or a story about a boy and his parents. Same deal. Or a boy and his widowed mom. Nope. The dialect didn't add anything to the story. Just because you are poor doesn't mean you can't speak well. Or at least better than was portrayed in the book. Maybe one or two Southern dialects could have been used that weren't so demeaning. I wonder how Southern readers will feel about it. I will say it was a pretty quick read. Mostly because you want some relief for Charlie. Relief that never really comes. Even when he decides to do the right thing at the end, he is horribly beaten and nearly killed. Worse yet, the author "tells" the ending instead of "shows". One of the worst crimes in writing. Instead of a surprise or happy freeing of the husband and wife escaped slaves, every step of the way is spelled out. Little Charlie even requests they don't kill him because he is bringing them to a blacksmith to take off their chains. Then he tells them they are going to get into a boat and go to Canada...and that is it. I sure miss the editors of old. By old I mean like ten years ago. I bet they could have made something wonderful out of The Journey of Little Charlie.
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