Danny didn’t ask to come to Hawaii. He was more than happy in New York City. Sure, he wasn’t running with the best crowd, but they were close. And they were happy. Happy, that is until Finn fell while running up a fire escape with Danny and landed himself in the hospital.
That was when his mom decided she’d had enough – she needed to get Danny to a safer environment. She thought that taking him to Pearl Harbor, a naval base on Hawaii, would help him to sort life out. But it only strengthens his desire to stand by Finn during his illness. Danny plans that he’ll stowaway on the next ship back home.
But before he can execute his plan, planes begin dropping bombs over Pearl Harbor. Danny’s confused – is this a drill? Or is this the real thing?
I was worried when the story first began. Danny’s loyalty to his friends surpassed his affection for his mother, and he plots how he can lie and beg his way back to New York City to be with Finn. He is on the verge of doing this when the disaster begins. And it is here that Danny realizes just how dearly and fully he loves his mother. In the end, far from having deserted his mother, he realizes how cowardly his “brave” plans were.
“Maybe yesterday morning he had been the kind of boy who would leave his ma. He would never know for sure.
But he knew this: He wasn’t that kind of boy anymore.” [pg. 74]
Far from taking away from the story, I felt that the presence of this element strengthened the story because it added a real, personal dimension to the story of Pearl Harbor. It also provided the protagonist with a chance to demonstrate some character development from his earlier preferring of shiftless behavior to an accepting of responsibility.
When remembering his friend’s accident, Danny says he could see “blood seeping out of his head.” [pg.7]
In one scene it is said that Danny cursed himself, and in another that someone swore, but no actual words are used. ‘Heck’ and ‘darn’ are each used once.
Conclusion. A good story. Children will enjoy this one.
Review © 2014 Laura Verret