Johnny Tremain – Esther Forbes


The book in one sentence: A story about the Boston Tea Party and the war with the British after that.

Who would you recommend it to: People who are interested in reading a story with a historical setting. The war theme may interest boy readers, but girl readers who are open to various genres could like this too.

OK bits: The protagonist, Johnny Tremain, is a great character. I like his attitude, even his flaws, and how from an accident that changed his life, did not even matter anymore as he moved on to his new job and role as a spy of sorts for the Boston rebels.

Boring bits: I finally understood what the Boston Tea Party was about, but I still don’t quite get the details of it and the war after that.

Random review quote:

“This is Esther Forbes at her brilliant best… Johnny may well take his place with Jim Hawkins, Huck Finn and other young immortals…” – Book Week

Verdict: I’m surprised I managed to finish this book, although it took me much longer than usual. I’m also surprised that I actually enjoyed the book, at least some parts of it. I think this is often used as a literature text in middle and high schools. If I were made to read this book for class, I know I’d have hated it, like I did with Jane Eyre!


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. benhoak
    Apr 29, 2008 @ 12:41:05

    Love this book too. Also like the bookcases below …

    nylusmilk: you too? me too! 🙂


  2. museditions
    Apr 30, 2008 @ 09:10:50

    About 300 years ago I read that book in school (alright, maybe not that long ago. That would make it before the events described took place). It was the first historical fiction I liked. I thought Johnny was way cool, and the situations he finds himself in way interesting. I liked it Even Though I was required to read it for school!
    And I loved Jane Eyre, although no one made me read it except my friend Betsy.

    nylusmilk: hah, and i always thought you were in your forties. 😀 i like historical fiction, but it has to be a good balance of entertaining history and good fiction, haha. yes, i love how his disability ceased to matter anymore as the events took place… in fact, he probably wouldn’t have played such an important role if his hand wasn’t burnt!

    i think i will try to read jane eyre again. i did remember enjoying reading the beginning, but having forced to read the later chapters in a short amount of time turned me off the book big time!

    maybe if i have a betsy i could enjoy more classics? 😉


  3. museditions
    May 01, 2008 @ 03:58:58

    Oh, did you? 😉 Perhaps I’m just mature for my age :mrgreen: (leaving home at an early age, life experience and all that), although I’m probably immature for being in my 300’s. I relate to a lot of the philosophy and art and music from that period, 🙂 but not the gender, class and race inequality. 😦 I don’t think I’d have wanted to be in the colonies during the revolutionary war. It was a gritty, tough time, (my people came here much later) but I did admire Johnny T. tremendously.
    And do read Jane if it’s been a couple of years. It’s a novel meant to be savored, not “taught” IMO. She’s another person who did a lot at a young age, like Johnny!
    Yes, Betsy did get me going reading good literature. She was 4 years older, and I respected her opinion. She’d give me a book, and say “here, read this, and then tell me what you think”. She also gave me We Have Always Lived in the Castle, by Shirley Jackson. That scared the &#)% out of me, but I found it fascinating. I think it changed the way I looked at literature. I still know Betsy, although we hardly ever see each other, as she lives far away. I’ll ask her if she’s still recommending books. 😀

    nylusmilk: oh, you are, and i mean that in a very good way! 🙂 i hope i can find my copy of jane eyre from my literature days! wouldn’t be surprised if i gave it away from the sheer trauma of learning it, hah! 😀

    never heard of that book, but if i come across it, i may give it a try. 🙂 i like the sound of betsy; i do lots of recommending myself! except that hardly anybody asks me, haha.


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