There was more to the Civil War than famous, glorified generals - much more. In this well-researched historical novel, you will see how the terrible Civil War affected the folks on the home front, too. The story is Civil War fiction. This history is real.
The Civil War South in 1863 is desperate and dangerous. For Joe, a 12-year-old boy suddenly alone and 600 miles from home, it's a nightmare come true. But for this rascal of a boy, it's also the adventure of a lifetime. Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn have nothing on him when it comes to adventure.
This a story of a special friendship that only comes along once in in a lifetime. Joe, who is white, and Peter, sixteen and a free Black, become unlikely friends and learn to depend on each other as they try to escape the desperate Confederate South.
Follow these two as they trek through a war-torn countryside and witness war at its worse. They travel through a landscape decimated by brutal battles, and encounter people - black and white - who have suffered the extreme hardships and depredation of three years of war. All the while they learn to depend on each other, and they grow a binding love as special as any two brothers. They will need each other more than they know - unknown to them, they are being pursued by a deranged killer.
©2011 John J. Gschwend Jr. (P)2014 John J. Gschwend Jr.
First of all, Jeff Hays is quickly becoming my favorite reader. He juggles quite a few characters quite well.
The story was like a modern day Mark Twain novel, with a sense of adventure and a lot of heart.
I would be willing to try another book by Mr. Gschwend but I don't think I would actively seek one out. His writing was good, but I found that the book seemed to drag on, especially the last 1/3 of the book. If I was at the library and saw another book by him I would give it a read.
I think I enjoyed Jeff's portrayal of Joe the most. I found that Jeff did a very good job producing a childlike sense of enjoyment in world as well as the slow erroding of Joe's innocence in the tone and inflection of his voice.
Journey through War.
I enjoyed Chase the Wild Pigeons for the most part, but I did find that the narrative dragged on and sometimes meandered off in parts. I especially found the last 1/3 of the book seemed to drag and the parts that I believe the author meant for us to fear for the characters and what they are going through fell somewhat flat.
When the main characters are confronted by their past in the last bit I wasn't actually worried for them and I wanted them just to get to Virginia. If the novel had been about 100 pages shorter in length I think the ending would have had more of an impact on me, but I was beginning to get tired of their journey.
I am Canadian, so that may be part of the reason I did not have the same connection with the characters and their journey because I don't have that past to relate it too. It is certainly interesting how one word can cause a visceral reaction even outside of the book. At the beginning when the N-Word was used so casually it definitely caught my attention and I know the author did his research and portrayed the racism, both overt and subtle very well.
I thought Jeff's performance of the many assorted characters (and there were many) was quite well done, although at times I felt that it was sometimes confusing when the main character Joe (a boy of 12-13) was talking to some women because the voices sounded somewhat similar. There were a couple of places that I actually had to rewind to figure out who said what because they blended together.
But Jeff did a very good job differentiating between the black and white characters of the book and there were only minor problems.
Overall the performance was better than the book and I think it helped me to give the book 3 stars, whereas if I had read the book I may have only given it 2-2.5 stars.
If you are a history buff, especially a civil war history buff I would recommend the book. I think you would enjoy it and would definately be able to connect with the characters more than I did.
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