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Reviewed by:
  • The Courage Test by James Preller
  • Elizabeth Bush
Preller, James The Courage Test. Feiwel, 2016 [224p]
ISBN 978-1-250-09391-2 $16.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 4-6

Having spent years researching what will be his grand opus on the Lewis and Clark Expedition, William Meriwether Miller’s father, a history professor with serious writer’s block, takes his son on a summer road trip along a segment of the trail, hoping Will’s fresh observations and insights will get the ink flowing. There was a time when Will might have welcomed the chance to go adventuring with Dad—back before the divorce, back before Will’s opportunity to play summer ball on an All-Stars team—and if truth be told, it doesn’t take much for Will to drop his adolescent resentment and start to enjoy himself. However, a brief but intense comment dropped and quickly retracted by one of Dad’s colleagues they not-soaccidentally meet in the wilderness puts Will on the alert that there may be more to this trip than rescuing a professional paper, or even making up for lost father/son time. Dad already knows what Will eventually discovers: that they will both need undaunted personal courage to support Mom through cancer treatments she has just begun in her son’s absence. Preller traverses both domestic drama and adventure story with equally sure footing, delivering the thrills of a whitewater rafting accident and a mama bear encounter, and shifting effortlessly to the revelation of Mom’s illness and the now urgent rapprochement between Dad and Will. Whatever young explorers look for on their literary road trips, they’ll find it here. [End Page 591]



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p. 591
Launched on MUSE
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