Mine and most likely many children’s problems with reading is that we cannot find something that interests us. In my own experience I have found a book to hold my attention with a great theme, well placed characters. The book is called On my honor, a great book written by Marion Dane Bauer. On my honor is a book that teaches its readers a very valuable lesson of making promises. On my honor is such a good book that it was a Newbery Honor book. There must have been a lot of great books come out that year for such a well written book such as this to only be an award honor.
The book starts out with two boys on their bicycles talking about wanting to go climb a very dangerous hill. The hill is so dangerous that someone has died climbing the hill in the past. Joel goes with his friend Tony to ask his father if he can go to the park which is a few miles before the hill. Joel gets permission from his father to go to the park saying “promise me on your honor that you will go nowhere other that the park.” Joel promises his father to only go to the park.
On the way to the park, Joel’s best friend Tony challenges him to a swim in the treacherous Vermilion River. Both boys have been warned never to go near the river, but Joel gives in to Tony’s persuasion. Joel doesn’t want Tony to think he is scared so he told him he would. It isn’t until Tony disappears that Joel comes to a terrible realization that Tony cannot swim.
Joel dives repeatedly in search of his friend, but with no luck. Back at home, the stench of the river grows strong on his skin but no one can smell it except him. Pressures mount from the outside, and from within. Tony’s parents and others are beginning to ask questions about Tony while Joel; weighed down by a profound sense of guilt, groups for the courage to tell the truth.
The thing that made me like On my honor the most had to be the moral of the story. In the book Joel promises his father to only go to the park that day but he half heartedly promises his father. He was not worried about the consequences of breaking the promise he was only thinking about showing Tony that he was not scared. The way the book showed how lying was wrong and could never be good was a little extreme but wise idea. On my honor showed that lying could even go as far as getting someone killed although it is very unlikely. Lying is a very important lesion to teach a child and On my honor did a very fine job.
On my honor was not a book that took place in an extremely fantasized place. The story takes place in a small town that is small in population shown by there being no one traveling on the highway going by the river. The book took place in two lower middle class suburban families. This book showed this through the boys having bicycles that were handed down from two other people in the family. These families were very close, Tony’s mother babysat Joel and his little brother Bobby.
My favorite character and the one that reminds me a little of myself is Joel. He seems like a good kid because he always seems to be trying to follow what his parents tell him to do or what he thinks to be safer. For example in the book Tony wanted to go climb the hill that someone has died on in the past. When they get to the river Joel hastily agrees to go swimming rather than climb the hill. Joel was raised by a strong hand, he always gets permission to do whatever activities he wants to do. On my honor also shows that Joel is scared of his father. Joel is afraid of what his father might do to punish him even after Joel has to watch his best friend die.
The other main character is Tony. Tony is a very outspoken person that does what he wants when he wants. When Joel asks his parents if he can go to the park Tony lies and doesn’t ask his parents because he says he can hide it from them. Tony didn’t know how to swim but he was the one that wanted to stop and go swimming. Again knowing he couldn’t swim he wanted to race Joel to a sandbar about one hundred yard away. This shows how much of a headstrong person Tony is if he would risk his life doing something he didn’t know how to do.
Joel’s little brother Bobby is just a support character to the story but his significance was very obvious. Bobby was a usual little brother, he wants to do everything exactly like his big brother Joel. The reader can see that Joel starts being nice to Bobby at the end of the book because he feels so bad about Tony dieing he is realizing that Bobby is not a bad kid he just wants to be important in his brothers eyes.
On my honor was a book that held very important morals that all kids should learn and live their life through. This book did not deal with people in a happy little fantasy land but in a life that was full of stress and wows. On my honor shows how people have to live with lies and how they build up and get worse the longer they are kept a secret. The book shows how peoples conscious can eat away at people while lying and keeping it secret. Marion Dane Bauer deserves an award for this beautiful written book that is a benefit to all the people that get to read understand its message.