Another thank you to all who are following my blog, and liking my posts. It means a lot to this newbie. It makes me feel so at home, which takes me into my review.
Some Kind of Courage, By Dan Gemeinhart
Review-By Laura the Book Enthusiast
Do you remember the old saying about a boy and his dog? Well, how about a boy and his horse? This is the very principle that Dan Gemeinhart pens in Some Kind of Courage. I listened to the audiobook version of this story, and I must say, it made the narrative even more touching, voiced by actor Andrew Eiden. Both writer and voice actor made the protagonist, Joseph Johnson, so appealing. I have always believed characters should drive the plot, not vice versa. A character can make or break a good plot, but great characters can make an average plot exceptional. Gemeinhart uses this tactic in his historical fiction novel. The setting is in Washington State, just before the turn of the century. From the outset, this novel very much plays out like a bluegrass country song. The protagonist lost both his parents and sister in death, and is now living with an abusive guardian. To make matters worse, Joseph’s guardian sold the boy’s beloved horse, Sarah. Sarah, is the only family Joseph has left, and he is determined to get her back. This is where his journey begins.
Joseph meets plenty of kindred spirits along the way, as Anne Shirley (L.M. Montgomery) would affectionately call them. One such friend, is Ah-Kee, a Chinese boy who is as lost, but as brave as Joseph is. Courage, this a trait that is emphasized throughout this novel. Joseph, a child no more than twelve years old, sets out on a daring mission across the Eastern Washington Wilderness, not only where he must brave a rough terrain, but also not the most honorable of people. Then we have a Chinese boy, named Ah-Kee, with no way of verbally communicating with the people around him, accompany an American boy he doesn’t know, on a journey with an unknown destination. These two boys are simply searching for their families, and despite the language barriers, Joseph and Ah-Kee are bonded through a common goal. A goal that binds all of humanity, to find a place to call home.
Join Joseph as he fights with all his power to get his “sweet Sarah” back. Cheer for him as he takes on shifty business men, and even an outlaw. Cry with him as he grieves over the loss of his family. Laugh with Ah-Kee when Joseph takes on a bear (you’ll see). Allow Joseph and Ah-Kee to inspire you, as they display loyalty, compassion, and yes, courage. I nod my head in agreement to Joseph’s words, “Mama said that if someone’s putting ugliness into the world, you can’t be ugly back; you gotta put a little bit of sunshine into the world to even things out.” Amen, Joseph. Amen.
Take it from someone who is not normally a fan of historical westerns. I absolutely loved Some Kind of Courage. The characters, the setting, the plot, and the themes resound with everyone; no matter one’s age, culture, race, or gender. So, saddle up your horse, gallop to your local library or bookstore, and pick up a copy of this enchanting novel. No worries, you can always go home again.