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The Man Who Was Thursday

by G.K. Chesterton
112 pages, Fantasy
Reviewed by Lady Meriwen

A thrilling allegorical mystery with an astounding conclusion.

Plot

What if you stepped into a dream?

Though that's not exactly what happens to Gabriel Syme on a starlit night in February, the events set in motion after he visits the anarchists' headquarters take on the surreal quality of a nightmare. A policeman-poet disguised as a revolutionary, he must stand his ground as the sole representative of justice against a band of men who seek only to destroy. In the midst of turmoil that threatens to undermine his world, his mind is whirling with a frightful question: who is the man called Sunday, and what does he want with him?

Morality

The protagonist has a moral worldview, being a man of law and order among a group of anarchists. However, this view is eventually overturned. That's not to say his whole worldview is changed--right and wrong are still the same--only that things weren't as they seemed.

Spiritual Content

This book is in some ways an allegory, though we're never told precisely who Sunday is or what he represents. Towards the end of the book he's asked if he has ever suffered; he doesn't answer, but a voice is heard quoting Jesus in Gethsemane.

Violence

There's some shooting, but no one's actually shot. A duel takes place. A man is struck on the head with a lantern.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Wine and beer are drunk. At one time when Syme is laughing in a tavern his companions think he's intoxicated, but he is not.

Sexual Content

None.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

Only exclamations such as "blasted", "why the blazes", and "what the devil". An occasional "d--n" or "My God!"

Conclusion

This is a mystery and an adventure story, but it's more than that. It's the story of a man who, through terrifying circumstances he could not have foreseen, is shown what it means to be truly alone: pure good standing by itself against the forces of darkness. It's a many-layered book, short and profound.

Fun Score: 5
Values Score: 4.5
Written for Age: 13+

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