Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Mutiny on the Bounty - book review

Mutiny on the Bounty - book review
by John Boyne

Following a recent viewing of 'The Boy in the Striped Pajamas', Belle spotted a copy of this book in Waterstones, written by the same author. Having read it herself, she passed it on to me figuring that its watery theme would appeal.

The tale itself is well known to all but the twist for this is that Boyne tells the story from the prospective of a teenage boy, John Jacob Turnstile, who unexpectedly finds himself as the captain's personal servant. This unique position allowed the author to unpack the story with direct access to both the officers and the crew - a very neat device.

The story itself trips along and if you like Alexander Kent and Hornblower you will probably like this as well.

The book does, however, have two distinct failings which serve to detract from its overall quality:

1. Boyne picked up a number of unusual seafaring phrases, and then used them to death. The two phrases I have in mind were an attempt to describe a teenage boys sexual urges, but I grew very weary of his constant references to "having the motions" and being "on the tug". I leave you to work out what he was referring to.... I would suggest that this failing is more due to poor editing than poor writing.

2. The author is, at the time of the story, an illiterate but bright boy and the use of eloquent language is explained away by the book being written much later in his life. However, I found it irritating to see the literary style develop as the book progressed, with the latter chapters employing a vastly superior grasp of our language than was employed at the start. Sort of a book version of a continuity error.

All in all this is a good seafaring yarn, one of courage and cowardice where good eventually triumphs over evil. All in all a good read for boaters with a taste for a bit of salt in their literary diet.

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