In the year 1904, Fred Dickinson teeters on the brink of manhood. He is spending the last summer of his childhood at his grandfather’s family cottage on Rideau Lake, the only place he feels truly alive. Shy and stuttering, Fred’s ambition is to make his living on the water, mapping the lake for hidden shoals. His father however, has other plans. Believing Fred to lack character, his father is arranging for him to work in the city to toughen him up.
Apparently Julie Johnston based this book off of a diary from the real life Fred. You know what that reminded me of? Recently my roommate from college dropped out of his course in cars, and to be fair, it was a course that gave harsh grades and was for people with prior experience. But he told me he took the course because the industry paid well and he could have insurance if he got hurt. If you ask me, that's not quite enough to warrant a class. It's kind of the same for this book. Something tells me this diary is one of a kind and Johnston probably found it by chance before anything could happen to it after 90 years. I feel if she had something bigger to tell, though, it would've left a much better lasting impression. I'm always open to a novel that's different from what I usually read, but by the end of the book I wasn't even excited to write a review.
I liked the scene where Fred's dad says he got his son into a job at a factory in Toronto that makes robes. Fred's reaction to it and the fact it's his father and he's already made up his mind and apparently in that economy it's kind of hard to find a job, is pretty spot-on, and there's a scene with bats and a fishing mishap that I sort of liked. But I finished the book forgetting most of the names of most of the characters within the next day, and then by the second day, the last name Dickinson, and then that it was taking place in 1904. I'd rather go to summer camp myself.