The Broken Blade by William Durbin: A Book Review

Now that Bookworm is almost a teenager (how did that happen?!), he’s fussier about the books that he reads.  I noticed that he’s much more interested in books with a strong boy protagonist on an adventure.

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I picked The Broken Blade by William Durbin to go along with his Canada unit study, but what I didn’t expect was how much both of us would like this book!

The story is set in Canada in the year 1800 in the spring.  Pierre La Page, who is 13, is studious and a little bit lazy when it comes to work.  When the book opens, he’s lounging in bed instead of chopping wood, which is his chore.  His father, Charles, is chopping the wood instead.  Minutes later, Pierre’s father makes a mistake and hits his thumb with the ax.  The deep wound requires amputation of the thumb, and suddenly, the survival of Pierre’s entire family is in jeopardy without Charles’ ability to work.

Each year, Charles signs up as a voyageur.  As a voyageur, he joins a group of men who spend several months travelling 2400 miles from Montreal, Canada to the Great Lakes to exchange cloth and other goods for the furs from the animals the Native Americans have trapped.

On a whim, Pierre signs up as a voyageur so that he may make the money his father won’t be able to due to his injury.  When he tells his parents, his mom is scared, and his dad is proud and excited.

The rest of the book follows Pierre on his journey.  Along the way, he struggles through fatigue, sore muscles, blisters, and many more trying challenges such as raging rapids and even death of one of his fellow voyageurs.

This is an excellent book that most boys (as well as many girls) will enjoy.  Even better, there is a sequel, Wintering, which my son and I have on our reading list.

I give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale. 

 

 

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