I remember that day, four years ago, when I looked hopelessly at the rows of books on our shelfs and thought, “I must have read all the books there are for my age!” I had just finished reading a not-too-interesting story and couldn’t find a promising book to read. When I complained to my mother, she replied something along these lines: “But Wisdom Zelda! There are so many books in this house that you could read! Besides, Rhiannon has lots of books that she wants you to read. After lunch I can help you choose a book.” I didn’t quite believe her, and I spent the rest of the afternoon frowning at the chosen book and foraging through the orderly bookshelves, looking for a more seemingly thrilling story.
I also remember wondering that afternoon, “What if there are thousands of books out there that haven’t ever been read?” Even today I am positively certain that there are thousands of thrilling, amazing books out there that haven’t ever had the chance to enter a bookshop. So thank goodness that the book that I am reviewing is not one of those!
The Great Brain, by John D. Fitzgerald, is a story of a young boy who lives in the 1890s. Tom D. Fitzgerald is an extremely smart boy who has a knack for “turning a profit.” This story is told from the view of Tom’s younger brother, John D. Fitzgerald (you might notice that that is the name of the author). It explores the adventures of sneaky Tom, a.k.a. the Great Brain, in a very elating way.
The Great Brain was such a great book because Tom was such a great character (sorry for the amount of ‘greats’, I just got inspired). For one, he was exceptionally smart and mega-tricky. Every time he did something a little unusual, someone would groan, “Oh that boy!” I would groan along with them, because I never knew what Tom would do next. The minute something out of the ordinary happened in town, Tom would start thinking of how he could make money out of it. When the new kid (Basil) gets bullied by Sammy, Tom teaches him how to beat Sammy up. But for free? What a bizarre thing that would be for The Great brain to do! The day Basil beats Sammy up, Basil’s dad gives Tom a whole dollar! (That’s not much today, but back then it was like $20 for us) and hey! the words “Read The Great Brain! Read The Great Brain!” were pounding in the back of my head the whole two days that I was reading it.
This book was a little funny, too. The things which Tom does make you smile slyly and think, “Oh gosh, that boy would make a great business man.” I was extremely skeptical when I opened this book. In the middle of it I was elated, and when I finished it, I was sad. I’m sure that I won’t ever read a book like that again. It was just too great.
This book is great (I know you’re sick of the word, but it is in the title). Any ten-year-old would speed through it. Even an eight-year-old could read it without much trouble. So if you read it, you’ll have discovered the relish of those not-so-known books.
You can buy the book here.