Barbara's Reviews > The Journey of Little Charlie

The Journey of Little Charlie by Christopher Paul Curtis
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Good luck never seems to be on the side of Little Charlie Bobo. After his father dies in a freak accident in the South Carolina woods, slave catcher Cap'n Buck comes calling with claims that the man owed him some money. The twelve-year-old and his mother have practically nothing, and his family has barely been squeaking by until the next harvest. Although they try to flee, Cap'n Buck outsmarts them, and Charlie is on his way to Detroit and then, later, to Canada, in order to bring back some thieves who allegedly stole from the Tanners. But once Charlie realizes that they're after a man, a woman, and their son and after he meets the son, he has second and third thoughts about his involvement. There's not a single misstep in this story about the Fugitive Slave Act and some of the evil practices it inspired as free African American and African Canadian men, women and children were often kidnapped and taken down South. I was riveted and deeply involved in the story from start to finish. I never had a single moment of pity of Cap'n Buck and knew early on just what he was capable of doing. While, like other reviewers, I was surprised at first that Christopher Paul Curtis was telling the story from the perspective of a poor white boy, ultimately it works well as it allows readers to glimpse his thought processes and changes in attitude over the course of his journey. While the use of dialect may be offputting to some readers, it didn't slow me down, and as I read, I fell into the rhythm of the writing and speaking easily. I've enjoyed every story this talented man has written, and this one was yet another excellent tale that tugs at readers' hearts and makes them question what they might have done in certain situations. The Author's Note actually ruminates on how rarely many of us act on those better instincts, often leaving those actions to others. Read this one alongside Elijah of Buxton and The Madman of Piney Woods and glory in the deft storytelling skills of this talented man. As a fan and a writer and writing teacher, I loved reading his notes on how stories come to him and how he eschews outlines before writing.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
April 8, 2018 – Shelved
April 8, 2018 – Shelved as: animals
April 8, 2018 – Shelved as: bullies
April 8, 2018 – Shelved as: character-building
April 8, 2018 – Shelved as: community
April 8, 2018 – Shelved as: civil-rights
April 8, 2018 – Shelved as: compassion
April 8, 2018 – Shelved as: conflict
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April 8, 2018 – Shelved as: cultural-identity
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April 8, 2018 – Shelved as: economics
April 8, 2018 – Shelved as: education
April 8, 2018 – Shelved as: elderly-characters
April 8, 2018 – Shelved as: emotions
April 8, 2018 – Shelved as: empathy
April 8, 2018 – Shelved as: facing-fears
April 8, 2018 – Shelved as: families
April 8, 2018 – Shelved as: friendship
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April 8, 2018 – Shelved as: history
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April 8, 2018 – Shelved as: humor
April 8, 2018 – Shelved as: identity
April 8, 2018 – Shelved as: imagination
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April 8, 2018 – Shelved as: literacy
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April 8, 2018 – Shelved as: pets
April 8, 2018 – Shelved as: poverty
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April 8, 2018 – Shelved as: read-aloud
April 8, 2018 – Shelved as: race
April 8, 2018 – Shelved as: reading
April 8, 2018 – Shelved as: resilience
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April 8, 2018 – Shelved as: rural-life
April 8, 2018 – Shelved as: school
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April 8, 2018 – Shelved as: survival
April 8, 2018 – Shelved as: trauma
April 8, 2018 – Shelved as: transportation
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April 8, 2018 – Shelved as: urban-life
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April 8, 2018 – Shelved as: violence
April 8, 2018 – Shelved as: writing
April 8, 2018 – Shelved as: word-lovers
April 8, 2018 – Finished Reading

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