The Book of Boy

The story begins in France around 1350; the plague has swept through the area and Boy is on his own. He lives and works for a knight of the local manor. He does an excellent job of tending the goats in spite of his hunchback. He seems to understand the goats’ behavior better than most people and is generally content with his life.

Boy then meets a pilgrim named Secondus who is on a quest to locate seven relics that are hidden somewhere in France and Rome. After a little while, we realize that he is ill and then find out that he hopes to gain entry to Paradise based on the quest and not on his behavior throughout his life. He hopes to be reunited with his wife and son and so is pretty manic about completing his self-proclaimed quest.

The boy hopes that St Peter will cure his hump and that he will be a “real boy,” and although Secondus is pretty sketchy, Buying your way into Heaven after a life spent sinning is a tricky business. Boy stays the course and sticks with him.

I’m not confident that the theology of this book is accurate, but it does give readers a glimpse into feudal life of the Middle Ages. Maybe one of my kind readers could let me know about the theology as I am wondering if these were the prevailing beliefs at the time?

After I finished this book all I could think of was how I was going to squeeze it into our school reading. Technically we are well past the Middle Ages so I’ll probably just shelf it for now, but it is perfect for any Logic Stage (roughly 5th through 8th grade) or high school students that are studying that period. It’s just the right length at under 300 pages, and the hardcover even has deckle-edged pages which in combination with the high quality paper makes it seem like you are reading an epic ancient quest. (I’m a sucker for the deckle edge)

Please note that I received a free copy of this book from the publisher without a review requirement or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that, I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.

The Book of Boy by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

2 comments

  1. I recently wrote a paper about the portrayal of religion in medieval middle grade fiction and one of the books I looked at it was this one. I’m not the best person to speak to how accurate the theology is, but it’s my understanding that relics did play a pretty significant role in Middle Age Christian belief. I think it’s a plausible belief that Secundus could buy his way in with enough holy relics.

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