Sophie cannot wait to take off for the sea. Her three uncles and two cousins are preparing to set sail across the ocean from the American coast to England to see their grandfather, Bompie. This diary-style account from the journals of both Sophie and her cousin Cody, teach us their story of adventure, tidal waves, and reveal to the reader the truth about each individual on board The Wanderer.
The book opens and we meet Sophie who is saying goodbye to her parents, preparing to leave with her uncles and cousins across the ocean to see her grandfather and favorite person, Bompie. The book is written like journal entries and soon we realize there is another journal writer, Sophie’s cousin, Cody. Through his account we come to find that Sophie was an orphan who only entered the family three years earlier and we start to wonder why Sophie seems to think and act as if this is the only family she has ever know. Cody and Brian both seem very curious about the real story of Sophie’s past, but she won’t ever talk about it and the uncles/fathers won’t tell them.
Throughout the journey we slowly find out more about Sophie as well as each of the members on board and relationships begin to mend during the tension of the sea. A big wave comes once and injuries Brian, Cody, Uncle Dock, and Sophie (only mildly) and that experience challenges them all to recognize the danger and excitement of the journey. When the finally make it to Ireland, they are all elated and end up taking a car to see their beloved Bompie, whom they find out is rather ill.
As they meet Bompie, interestingly, he doesn’t seem to recognize anyone properly, except Sophie, the one they didn’t even think knew him. We come to find out the truth of Sophie’s past and why Bompie has always has such a special place in her heart. The journey has changed her and helped open up her heart a little; it has changed them all.
This story was an interesting reminder to be of being sensitive to others’ situations and considerate of that before judging who they seem to be and why. As I think about the way the family members judged both Cody and Sophie and how those judgments changed throughout the course of the book, it has helped me to examine my own relationships and challenged me to rid myself of similar judgments.
This book is a good one to recommend to several types of students because I think there is something everyone can appreciate or someone they can identify with. The book teaches about parent-child relationships with Uncle Mo and Cody, about respecting people and not judging them. It is a good reminder to students to be sensitive of others’ personalities and situations. - CM