Monday, April 5, 2010
FISH: The Story
"Maurice Reidy - nicknamed "Fish" because of his incredible swimming abilities - is sent to work as a courier to help support his struggling family. Entrusted with a mysterious package of coins, Fish is waylaid by pirates who abscond with his delivery. Determined to get the coins back, he joins the wily and foul-smelling crew of rogues, embarking on an adventure that changes his life forever.
On board the pirate ship, called the Scurvy Mistress, Fish learns that the strange coins could be the key to finding a fabulous treasure and that the nasty first mate, Scab, could be plotting a mutiny. The water-loving boy has to recover the coins, thwart Scab, find the treasure, and save his family."
And here's what I think the book is about:
Adventure. I suppose that's obvious from the plot summary above. After Fish has to leave his overcrowded family farm, he ends up halfway across the world hunting a mysterious treasure. His chance of survival seems slim at first, but thanks to a few friends, his skill in the water, and a talent for the art of not-fighting, he dodges death more than once.
Swimming. Fish earns his nickname because of his love for the water, but he certainly never thought he'd use his fantastic swimming skills to escape a band of murderous pirates. He's thrilled to be out at sea, sailing across the world on the Scurvy Mistress, cruising the clear blue waters of the Caribbean. Yet he's also desperate to return to his family.
Treasure. Or treasure hunting, really. The hunting is the most important part - whether they find any treasure I'd rather not say. It's during the search that Fish proves to be a valuable new member of the pirate crew. He shows that the brain is a far more important tool than a cutlass or a gun.
Bravery. Normally we think of bravery as a hero charging forward against scores of enemies, ready to fight no matter the odds. Fish is brave because he chooses not to fight. He refuses to carry a sword, cutlass, or weapon of any kind. In a few instances this nearly kills him. A pirate ship, after all, was a very violent place, and pirates were more likely to resolve conflicts with knives than with words. Yet Fish stays true to himself. He refuses to fight no matter what.
Filth. Can you imagine being trapped on a boat for months with a few dozen people who don't bathe, wash their clothes, or brush their teeth? It would be absolutely revolting. Their foul breath, the stench coming from their fetid feet...my stomach turns just thinking of it. Yet this was the reality, so I weighed down the Scurvy Mistress with all the grime and crud and smells I could conjure. And whenever it grew too nasty, I made sure to send Fish into the water for a cleansing swim.
Of course there's more. If you really want to know what the book is about, you have to read it!