Skiff Beaman has seen more adversity and heartache in his 12 years than most people do in a lifetime. He’s poor, his mother is dead, his father’s a drunk, his fishing boat sinks, and he’s habitually bullied.
So why in tarnation would kids want to read such depressing stuff?
Because it’s a good story – well written with a bonus of interesting fishing facts (the author is an avid fisherman).
The read is good; but it deals with some tough topics. The author presents a stark look at alcoholism and bullying, so be prepared to have some discussions about these issues. Also, Skiff is an underdog who is desperately trying to get out from the bottom. Since he has no parental guidance, he makes some very unwise decisions. While in the thick of any one of his many dilemmas, he sees the errors of his ways, and hears his mama’s voice reminding him to think smart, speak true, and never give up.
Kids who enjoy down-to earth books such as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, or Bud not Buddy, will like The Young Man and the Sea. Oh, and if you’ve read Hemingway’s classic The Old man and the Sea (one of my favorites), you’ll have no trouble recognizing the similarity.