Charlatan's Boy by Jonathan Rogers

Jennifer Jensen

4 Stars

June 21, 2012

If you have ever struggled with who you are, with what it means to be you, then reading this story will capture your imagination. A young boy who doesn’t know his past is being raised by a ‘charlatan’ who goes from village to village in an imaginary country to earn money by conning people into hearing tales of mythical creatures or having their futures told. When the charlatan comes up with a plan to create the ultimate scam, a new series of adventures begin so that the rewards will be greater than any they have had before. But as the orphan Grady seeks to please the professor, he struggles with bigger issues – who he is, how he matters, and whether or not the things they do are morally correct. The story is fanciful and fun, and it would be a great read especially for younger readers – perhaps in the 9-13 year old range. There are elements of adventure and surprise along with interesting characters, and even a touch of youthful infatuation. I enjoyed it, certainly, and I can think of several young people who would enjoy some of its silliness, even while they learned something from its message. I wouldn’t want to spoil the story, so I won’t say much about the climax or ending, but I thought it was a little unpredictable. Not so much that a young person would be completely taken off guard by it, but enough so that it made the rest of the story much more interesting and colorful. In the long run, there is no overt spiritual message – no prayerful moments or scripture are directly quoted. However, the idea that each of us is a spiritual orphan, spending our lives looking for the truth of who we are as a creation of God, is woven carefully in this story. It’s subtle, but it’s definitely part of the story.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255