Author: Daniel James Brown
Publisher: Penguin Books, 2013, ISBN 978-0-670-025817
Lexile Measure: 1260L
The Boys in the Boat is Daniel James Brown’s thrilling and sometimes heartbreaking account of the working-class Americans who defied the odds and beat not just the Northeastern elite but also the entire world when they won gold at the 1936 Olympics.
Last year, I attended a convention in Seattle with a group of women whose children row. On a break, they wanted to visit University of Washington’s Conibear Boathouse and see the shell featured in The Boys in the Boat. I was happy to tag along but, silently, I was thinking, “This is so weird. Why are these women staring at this skinny boat when we could be at the mothership Nordstrom?” All I can say is that now, I get it.
Profanity is sparse and far between and found only in a couple of quotes. Words and phrases include “hell,” “son of a b*tch,” “m*therf*cking n*gger,” “bullsh*t” and “bast*rd”.
Drug and Alcohol Use:
Mild, passing references to smoking, bootlegging, and alcohol use.
Violence and Crime:
The book features the very occasional fist fight. Passing reference is made to poaching and stealing booze. It also discusses the depression and the beginnings of World War II and the discrimination against and, later, extermination of Jews.
None to speak of. The book mentions extramarital affairs of Nazi Joseph Goebbels.
The story centers around the boy, Joe Rantz, who suffered neglect and verbal abuse at the hands of his cold-hearted and occasionally cruel stepmother as well as abandonment at the hands of his entire family, led by his father.