Reviews for True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle


PHI20
Told in the form of a recollection, these ``confessions'' cover 13-year-old Charlotte's eventful 1832 transatlantic crossing. She begins her trip a prim schoolgirl returning home to her American family from England. From the start, there is something wrong with the Seahawk : the families that were to serve as Charlotte's chaperones do not arrive, and the unsavory crew warns her not to make the trip. When the crew rebels, Charlotte first sides with the civilized Captain Jaggerty, but before long she realizes that he is a sadist and--the only female aboard--she joins the crew as a seaman. Charlotte is charged with murder and sentenced to be hanged before the trip is over, but ends up in command of the Seahawk by the time it reaches its destination. Charlotte's repressive Puritanical family refuses to believe her tale, and the girl returns to the sea. Charlotte's story is a gem of nautical adventure, and Avi's control of tone calls to mind William Golding's 1980s trilogy of historical novels of the sea. Never wavering from its 19th century setting, the novel offers suspense and entertainment modern-day readers will enjoy. Ages 11-13. (Oct.) Copyright 1990 Cahners Business Information.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 1990 September #2
Told in the form of a recollection, these ``confessions'' cover 13-year-old Charlotte's eventful 1832 transatlantic crossing. She begins her trip a prim schoolgirl returning home to her American family from England. From the start, there is something wrong with the Seahawk : the families that were to serve as Charlotte's chaperones do not arrive, and the unsavory crew warns her not to make the trip. When the crew rebels, Charlotte first sides with the civilized Captain Jaggerty, but before long she realizes that he is a sadist and--the only female aboard--she joins the crew as a seaman. Charlotte is charged with murder and sentenced to be hanged before the trip is over, but ends up in command of the Seahawk by the time it reaches its destination. Charlotte's repressive Puritanical family refuses to believe her tale, and the girl returns to the sea. Charlotte's story is a gem of nautical adventure, and Avi's control of tone calls to mind William Golding's 1980s trilogy of historical novels of the sea. Never wavering from its 19th century setting, the novel offers suspense and entertainment modern-day readers will enjoy. Ages 11-13. (Oct.) Copyright 1990 Cahners Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 1997 September
On a long, grueling journey from England to Rhode Island in 1802, a 12 year old changes from a prim and proper girl to a swashbuckling mate of a mutinous crew and is accused of murder by the captain. Awash with shipboard activity, intense feelings, and a keen sense of time and place, the story is a throwback to good old-fashioned adventure yarns on the high seas. (Sept. 1990) Copyright 1998 School Library Journal Reviews

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School Library Journal Reviews 1990 September
A breathtaking seafaring adventure, set in 1832. Charlotte Doyle, 13, returning from school in England to join her family in Rhode Island, is deposited on a seedy ship with a ruthless, mad captain and a mutinous crew. Refusing to heed warnings about Captain Jaggery's brutality, Charlotte seeks his guidance and approval only to become his victim, a pariah to the entire crew, and a convicted felon for the murder of the first mate. There is no doubt that she will survive, however, for the telling is all hers, masterfully related in a voice that perfectly suits the period and the heroine. At first, Charlotte exudes the haughty self-confidence and the need for propriety that only those of privilege and wealth can pull off, yet she also exhibits the naivete of an adolescent taught to respect and not question her elders--as long as they are of her class. As she sees the insane captain for what he is, she switches allegiances--thus endangering her life--and becomes part of the crew, passing their rugged tests and proving that she can become as adept as any of them. Her changing views and personality from a prim and proper pain to respected friend and mate are aptly reflected in her narrative, and the point of view gives Avi excellent opportunities for some fine foreshadowing. The irony at the end--that indeed her beloved papa is very much like the captain, tyrannical and unyielding--will leave readers agape, and they will sigh with relief when she deserts her very rigid family and returns home--to the ship. A sensuous novel, evoking the sights, sounds, and smells of the ship and the sea; the moods of captain and crew; the terror and bloodshed caused by the captain; and the nature of friendship and loyalty. --Trev Jones, School Lib. Journal Copyright 1990 Cahners Business Information.

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