Title: The Spy Who Came in From the SeaThe Spy Who Came in From the Sea
Author: Peggy Nolan
Pages: 129
Recommended Ages: 9-12
Star Rating: ★★★

A spy on the Florida beach? Gimme!

The Story.

I’m not exactly the most truthful person. I mean, I tell the truth sometimes, but other times it just seems so… boring. I mean, there’s nothing exciting about what happens to the real Frank Hollahan. So sometimes, I embellish it. Just to impress the guys.

But now I wish I had never fallen into that whole make believe junk. Wanna know why? Because I’ve seen, actually seen, a submarine surface not too far out from the beach. And minutes later, a man crawled out of the sea lugging a huge chest. The only explanation that makes sense is that he is a Nazi spy – which is important and needs to be reported – but nobody will believe my story. They think I’m exaggerating again.

Is there any way I can convince the police that I’m not lying, that there really is a spy, and that they must catch him before he causes any more damage?

Discussion.

As is obvious from the above synopsis, Frank Hollahan is a boy who struggles with truthfulness. He is not a malicious liar – he does not tell lies to hurt people or pervert the truth – he does it because it makes him feel better about himself. By the end of the story, he has admitted that it is a fault and that he doesn’t want to do it anymore, but his aversion seems to be based more on the fact that its inconvenient having people distrust you rather than actually believing it to be wrong.

Frank develops a little romance with a girl named Rosemarie. They agree to go to a school dance together (which circumstances prevent) and they hold hands in one scene. Later, in a type of epilogue, Frank writes a letter to his father in which he says that he kissed Rosemarie – and she kissed him back.

In an attempt to comfort a girl whose brother is missing in action, Frank tells her that “Mom lit a candle in church this morning and we said a prayer that everything would be okay.” [pg. 81]

There are numerous references to the popular radio shows and movies of the day. Nothing appalling.

Mild euphemisms ‘golly’, ‘gee’, ‘gosh’, ‘darn’, ’heck’, etc. are sprinkled around.

Conclusion. An interesting story. Not horrid, and actually rather unique.

Review © 2014 Laura Verret

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