Titanic Remembrance Day: "Dear America: Voyage on the Great Titanic" (review)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Title: Dear America: Voyage on the Great Titanic: The Diary of Margaret Ann Brady, R.M.S. Titanic, 1912
Author: Ellen Emerson White
Release Date: September 1998
Genre: Historical Fiction, Children’s, Diary
Age Group: 10-14
Source: Amazon
Rating: 4 1/2

“Five years ago, Margaret Ann Brady's older brother left her in the care of an orphanage and immigrated to America. When the orphanage receives an unusual request from an American woman looking for a traveling companion, Margaret's teachers agree that she is the perfect candidate to accompany Mrs. Carstairs on the TITANIC, so that once Margaret arrives in New York she will be free to join her brother in Boston. But the TITANIC is destined for tragedy, and Margaret's journey is thrown into a frozen nightmare when the ship collides with an iceberg.”

Today is Titanic Remembrance Day as the R.M.S Titanic sank the night of 14 April through to the morning of 15 April 1912. I read this for the first time probably during the big Titanic “craze” when the movie came out in 1997. The movie “Titanic” was the beginning of my love of movies and to this day is still one of my favorite movies. I saw it at eleven for the first time in the theaters and then proceeded to go back several more times. We all have childhood obsessions and “Titanic” was definitely one of mine. Part of this was reading just about everything I could get my hands on about the topic. Out of all the Titanic books I’d read as a kid – including “Titanic Crossing” and “S.O.S. Titanic”- “Voyage on the Great Titanic” was one of my least favorites.

Reading it again as an adult, I’m surprised to say I really enjoyed it. Usually re-reading “Dear Americas” can be a bit dry but this one has wonderful imagery and writing.

The main character, Margaret is hilariously cheeky. The jokes she makes in her head about those around her are fun to read and I liked that she is a somewhat of a troublemaker. She’s also not perfect by any means or unrealistically adult as heroines in middle grade books tend to be.

She’s very much the thirteen year old girl she should be which includes thinking she knows all the answers and not being particularly grateful that the only reason she’s able to reunite with her brother in America is because Mrs. Carstairs hired her to be her companion. I liked that Margaret doesn't go into the story somehow knowing the horrible fate that awaits her and the other Titanic passengers. Besides mentioning how it may be a bad luck sign that the New York ship nearly hits Titanic as it leaves the Southampton, England harbor, no one in the story hints that everything's about to go terribly wrong. While still good, that was the big problem in "S.O.S Titanic." Everyone was going on about how bad things were coming and it didn't make any sense why the characters in that story wouldn't just get off the ship then.

In "Voyage on the Great Titanic," Margaret acts how I think anyone would. She's happy to be on the ship, especially in first class when on her own she'd likely be in third, and is cautious, but not immediately frightened, when she's asked to put on her life jacket and go up to the deck. She's a smart character and it's only as she takes everything in - it's far too cold for it to be drill, Captain Smith and Thomas Andrews look much too worried, etc.- before getting upset.

I was also surprised at how poignant the book was on re-read. I expected the whole Titanic story to be “dumbed down” for younger readers but the author really managed to still punch you in the gut while still being respectful of the targeted age range of readers of this book. I also liked the slight romance between Margaret and her steward, Robert.

Words To Live By

"There are few things more difficult in life than saying goodbye to people." pg. 31


A great re read and a fitting story to read on Titanic Remembrance Day. “Voyage on the Great Titanic” is one of the better “Dear America” books and it should a good read for any age. I’m not surprised that it’s one of the few to have been re-released.
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Tracy is a history/film fan who loves to read YA, historical and contemporary fiction. She’s also a sucker for a sad tale. Harry Potter (“Harry Potter”), Peeta Mellark (“Hunger Games”), Nathaniel Blake (“Little Men”) and Daniel Landon (“Catcher, Caught”) are her literary boyfriends. She’s also the resident Ravenclaw and librarian.

1 comment:

  1. This has always been one of my favorite "Dear America"!


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