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Time Enough for Drums Mass Market Paperback – May 9, 2000
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From Publishers Weekly
PW called this novel set during the American Revolution a "well-plotted historical romance." Ages 12-up. (May)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Grade 6-9 Jemima Emerson witnesses the events of the Revolutionary War as they affect her family and home town of Trenton, N.J. She is a fiesty young lady whose family represents the differing positions of the colonies' fight for independence. Her older sister is married to a British officer, her paternal grandfather works for Indian justice and the cause of independence, her maternal grandfather is a Tory, her older brother an officer in Washington's army, and her mother writes pseudonymous patriotic letters to the newspaper. Jemima is tutored by John Reid, a supposed Tory who is really a spy for Washington, with whom she clashes as he tries to make her a proper young lady. Gradually her feelings for Reid change from animosity to love. The book is a good introduction to the causes and effects of the war but does not have the ring of veracity as does My Brother Sam Is Dead (Scholastic, 1985) by James and Christopher Collier. Problems arise with the use of first person in providing Jemima with information to report to readers. Lucy the house slave knows that the Hessian grenadiers had killed more American soldiers than any other Hessian unit on American soil. How Lucy became privy to this evaluation is not explained. Another issue that does not sit well is Reid's manipulation of Jemima. This might have been standard treatment for the period or an element borrowed from paperback historical romances, but it lessons the appeal of Jemima as the heroine of the story. Twentieth Century prejudice aside, readers will share the events of the war and be rewarded with a better understanding of the War for Independence. Therese Bigelow, Hampton Public Library, Va.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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I love that Jemima is a strong-willed female character from a time period where such stubbornness and spirit was looked down upon in a young woman. Jem knows what is expected of her, but she struggles to be her own person despite the rules. Naturally, the one person she fights again most is her tutor, John Reid.
Reid is an interesting character because he's fighting against himself the whole time he's teaching Jem--he cares about her, yet he tries desperately to keep his interactions professional. He tries to act aloof, yet it is noticeable that Jem's barbs reach their mark every time. I think that duality in his character makes the revelation about him believable.
I first read this book many, many years ago. Now that it's on Kindle, I'll revisit it often.