Matt's Reviews > On My Honor

On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
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M 50x66
's review
Nov 26, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: realistic-fiction
Read in November, 2009

Grades 4th -6th
Joel, age twelve, has reluctantly agreed to bike out to Staved Rock state park with his friend Tony. Joel promises his father,” On his honor”, that he will be careful. Tony has the idea that he wants to climb the dangerous bluffs once they get to the park. However, when they were about half way to Starved Rock and very tired of riding their bikes, the boys come across a bridge that crosses the Vermilion River and decide to take a swim. The water in the river is turbulent and full of unknown dangers. With his promise to his father still fresh in his mind, Joel leads Tony into the river. The boys become upset with one another and set a challenge to swim to a sand bar. Tony is not a strong swimmer and after struggling in the dirty, turbulent water drowns, leaving Joel to face his guilty conscience, and his father alone. “On My Honor”, is a very powerful novel that portrays the dilemma of two young boys, who are old enough to want to meet their own challenges without adult supervision, but still young enough to want adult grownup protection and security. Joel understands the moral dilemma he faces, but peer pressure inevitably has his make a tragic choice. Bauer’s descriptions of the dirty, polluted, and dangerous river, seem to foreshadow that a tragic event is about to happen.
I’m not sure what subject I would use this novel in. I know that I could use it to teach a lesson on peer pressure and understanding the consequences our decisions have. The students could then write papers on peer pressure and their understanding of choices and consequence.

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