Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

by Catherine Upton

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown is a captivating book. While it was a little uninteresting and hard to read for the first few chapters, after I got used to the writing style and got a few chapters in, it was hard to put down. The story follows the US Olympic rowing eight from the day they met to the day they competed in the Berlin Olympics. The book does a good job at character building, shedding light on a few characters' pasts in order to allow the reader to understand the characters choices, see their faults and their strengths. By allowing the reader to understand the characters, the author allows the reader to travel with the boys and feel their victories as well as all the emotions they feel throughout the season.

While the book follows the eight, it also shows scenes of Germany while it prepared for the Olympics. This back and forth allows the reader to see what is going on in the world around the boys in the eight. This creates a realistic atmosphere and allows the reader to further understand the situations and the depth that the boys get into. All of these different techniques of getting the reader to relate to the characters really pays off in a few places, namely, the races. Brown does a fantastic job in his race descriptions. He captures the urgency and calm of a race. He shows the reader what a race feels like, and, as a reader, I could feel every move that the boat made. In a few pages, I believe the Brown was able to make the reader know how it feels and the pain associated with a rowing race, without ever having to touch an oar. The suspense he weaves into his descriptions left me on the edge of my seat, wishing I could read faster so I could see what happened, but not wanting to miss a single word of it.

This book was good, with all parts of it weaving together harmoniously to form an incredible description of an already impressive story. The reason I gave it four stars, instead of five, is the beginning. I feel that the book could do a better job at captivating it audience from the first chapter, as it took some willpower to get to the point where the book got interesting. While I feel that the information portrayed in the first few chapters is important to the story, I feel that it could have been written better so that it could be read easier. Other than that, this book was well written and weaved together suspense and emotion together to form a breathtaking telling of an impressive story.

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