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Captains Courageous

by Rudyard Kipling
176 pages, Historical Fiction
Reviewed by Jenny

The timeless story of a pampered young boy growing to maturity and strength on the sea.

Plot

In the month of May, Harvey Chenye, spoiled heir to millions, is washed overboard into the Atlantic in the dead of night to be picked up by simple Grand Bank fishermen out earning their keep. Unable to return home, Harvey must mend his ways and work alongside the fishermen until it is time to return to the coast in September. In a world where his rich life and millions of dollars mean nothing, Harvey must learn what it is to gets his hands dirty and work for his bread.

Morality

The issue of morality is not directly addressed. There are instances when Harvey and his friend “hook” pies from the cook (in short, steal them) but other than boyish pranks the underlying morality of the story is strong enough.

Spiritual Content

Harvey is probably a deist, if not an atheist. This issue is never addressed. The fishermen believe in Providence, and one fellow is a Catholic.

Violence

There are a few accidents while at sea during the story, and the narration of the ‘dressing-down,’ or preparing the fish for packaging in the hold can get, understandably, a little nasty, but nothing to turn one’s stomach. The boys discover the body of a man who drowned; this scene is the most potentially disturbing

Drug and Alcohol Content

Disko Troop, the skipper of the ‘We’re Here,’ forbids any alcohol on shipboard, but there are tales of other ships whose crews have met with watery ends due to their mismanagement with alcohol.

Sexual Content

There is a brief mention that one seaman slips up in his virtue when ashore; otherwise, nothing.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

“Jiminy Christmas!” is said twice, and there is some mild name-calling back and forth between schooners. Nothing vulgar.

Conclusion

One of Kipling’s well-known books, ‘Captains Courageous’ is the exciting yarn of a boy growing into manhood. The characters are vibrant, their lives full-blooded and colourful; Kipling’s writing is enriched with his vivid description of the sea, the ships that chart it, and the men who sail those ships.

Fun Score: 5
Values Score: 4
Written for Age: 13+

Review Rating:

Average rating: 2 stars
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