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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Adam of the Road, by Elizabeth Janet Gray

I really enjoyed reading Adam of the Road to my children. They enjoyed it as well. I was impressed with the scope of the work.

It follows Adam for about a year. It opens with Adam in school, his faithful dog Nick being cared for by a local widow woman, waiting for his father, Roger, to pick him and Nick up. His father comes and they set off on the road together. Along the way, however, Nick gets stolen and Adam and Roger get separated when searching for Nick.

Many enduring themes of literature come into play, such as the odyssey, and the centrality of home, which in this book is represented by Adam's father (being minstrels their home is the road).

The author conveyed a lot of information about life in England in the late-13th century, and she did so naturally. There were only a couple places where it seemed that the story strained a bit in order to cover that information. Several historical personages and events are woven into the tale.

Adam was a likable and believable 11-year-old boy, hopeful, boastful, kind-hearted, so pleased with his dog Nick that he can't understand that some other people prefer other animals to dogs, naive but not entirely inexperienced. This book is not full of the sort of character which I gather is a common sort in YA fiction these days: dark and full of angst.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who reads in this genre. It well-deserved the Newberry medal it was awarded.

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