HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Iceberg Hermit
Author: Arthur Roth
Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks, republished 1989
ISBN-13: 978-0833513298 Hardcover
ISBN-10: 083351329X Hardcover
ISBN-13: 978-0590441124 Paperback
ISBN-10: 0590441124 Paperback
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 12 – 14
Rating: **** 4 stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Category: Historical fiction
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Roth, Arthur. The Iceberg Hermit (Published in 1974 by Point Books, an imprint of Scholastic Inc., 730 Broadway, New York City, NY 10003). It is 1757, and seventeen-year-old Allan Gordon, lives in Aberdeen, Scotland, with his mother and three younger sisters named Jean, Flora, and Gladys. His father is dead, but Allan has a girlfriend, Nancy Campion, who works in MacLean’s Drapery Shop. The boy believes that he is stupid because he never did well in school and he overheard his school master Bunty Duff tell his mother that schooling was a waste of time for him. So Allan quits school, and after a brief stint working at Craigie’s Tailoring Establishment, he signs up on a whaling vessel, the Anne Forbes under Captain Hughes, where he can make much more money to marry Nancy.
The story really gets going when the ship crashes into an iceberg and everyone perishes except Allan, who is now stranded alone in the Arctic. Where will he find food, clothing, and shelter? Does he ever make it back to Aberdeen? Can he even survive? This is a fun adventure tale about a young man who faces incredible problems. It is based upon a supposedly true account. The last chapter discusses the arguments for and against the possibility of the story being factual. Allan does smoke tobacco and drink rum (to stave off the cold), but he also reads the little Bible which his mother sent with him and prays. No cursing or profanity is used. In addition, there are all kinds of science facts and theories about the Arctic that can be explored further. It’s perfect for a middle school aged boy.