3 out of 4 stars
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The first paragraph immediately piqued my interest as Eldie Craine narrates his imminent exit from his mother's womb; imagine a perspective coming from a soon-to-be-born human being! A Ship of Pearl by Adela Crandell Durkee takes us on Eldie's journey full of antics, adventure, drama, comedy and a lot more. It is a rollercoaster ride of different emotions as life is seen through the eyes of a child and eventually, of a young man. Is Eldie's first pair of long pants enough to push him to mature as a young man and let go if his crazy, naughty ideas? Or it is useless against the many tricks up his sleeve? A Ship of Pearl narrates how experiences and the people around a boy mould his character into what he has become at present.
Durkee’s talent in writing a moving story was evident in this book. She was able to make me visualize each scene as if I was with the characters as they experience life's challenges. The characters were relatable and it amazed me Durkee was able to create characters where each was significant to the story, and a necessary part in the protagonist’s life. It was easy to understand a typical, curious kid who wanted to try out everything without thinking of the consequences. I could clearly see in my mind Eldie holding a piglet up by its hind legs to test whether his brother's claim was true. It was easy to imagine Eldie blushing as his crush looked his way and his young body barrelling down a hill. His experiences and his never-ending curiosity about practically everything made me reminisce my childhood. The siblings’ antics were very funny and I could only shake my head in disbelief and amusement as I read on. Despite Eldie’s recklessness, the author showed the boy’s gentle, loving side and his honesty endeared him to me. I was particularly amused at his naïve take on the Great Depression. The banking crisis of 1933 was a time in history that I was unfamiliar with and the inclusion of this event in the novel prompted me to research it. I thought this period was the perfect setting for the book A Ship of Pearl by Adela Crandell Durkee.
I liked that the importance of good family values was emphasized in the story. Ida was the typical strict mother who instilled values to her children but deep inside was all heart for her family. Although the book included different religious practices and beliefs, this aspect did not affect my enjoyment of the novel.
Eldie kept referring to a tragedy that befell his family which caused the siblings to split up and stay in other homes: this left me to wonder for a while since explanations were unprovided as I read on. But when the story was finally revealed, I was deeply affected; the narrative was so good I could feel the atmosphere of fear and hopelessness. I commend Durkee for utilizing the first-person perspective as it was the perfect vehicle to present A Ship of Pearl.
On the downside, there were many grammatical errors like missing commas, hyphens, incorrect use of an apostrophe, a missing apostrophe and an uncapitalized proper noun. There were some misspelled names like Ephraim written as Ephriam on page 12 and Itsy-Bets written as Isty-Bets on page 68.
I give A Ship of Pearl by Adela Crandell Durkee 3 out of 4 stars. I would have given this engaging, wonderful novel the highest rating but the existence of numerous grammatical errors prevented me from doing so.
If you like a novel about family relationships and boys who never seem to run out of antics, this one is for you. But if you are into suspense or heavy drama, and you are sensitive to some stereotyping remarks about different religious beliefs, you have to look elsewhere.
A Ship of Pearl
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