The Good Bad Boy

The Diary of an Eighth Grade Boy
Father Gerald Brennan
Neumann Press
Sewn Hardcover
Number of pages: 
128 pages
Grade / Age level: 

Neumann Press has reprinted another delightful novel by Father Brennan in one of its lovely hardbound editions (they also offer it in a quality softcover edition). This short, easy-to-read novel was a wonderful addition to a rainy afternoon for our family. Although aimed at an 8th-grade boy typical of the 1940s, the diary format and "everyday" charm appealed to my entire family. It would be an especially good book for a reluctant or struggling reader to tackle successfully on their own.

The story follows Pompey Briggs through his eighth grade year at Holy Cross Catholic School, through all of his ups and downs from September to graduation in June. We meet his family and friends, cheer him on at basketball games, follow the antics of the "Beaver Chiefs", and agonize with him over algebra exams. The little snippets from Pompey's diary are often hilarious, sometimes sad, but they are always flavored by a truly Catholic outlook on life. The surprise twist at the end was the perfect way for the story to end.

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