The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg

( 2 )


Although he is underage, Homer P.  Figg’s beloved older brother, Harold, is illegally sold into the Union Army by their ruthless guardian. Now Homer must run away from Pine Swamp, Maine, and his wretched home to find his brother and save him from the war, before it’s too late.

In a story filled with adventure, humor, and danger, award-winning novelist Rodman Philbrick tells of the turbulent, passionate times–from rural Maine to the Battle of Gettysburg—in the Civil War. ...

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Although he is underage, Homer P.  Figg’s beloved older brother, Harold, is illegally sold into the Union Army by their ruthless guardian. Now Homer must run away from Pine Swamp, Maine, and his wretched home to find his brother and save him from the war, before it’s too late.

In a story filled with adventure, humor, and danger, award-winning novelist Rodman Philbrick tells of the turbulent, passionate times–from rural Maine to the Battle of Gettysburg—in the Civil War. Here is historical fiction at its most engaging, portraying the 1860s through the observant eyes of a backwoods boy who is both courageous and funny–and always willing to stretch the truth to his own advantage. A master of plot twists and vivid characters, Philbrick sweeps readers into the unpredictable events—both colorful and tragic—of this powerful turning point in American history.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Philbrick (Freak the Mighty) offers rip-roaring adventure in this Civil War-era novel featuring a mistreated orphan who doesn't let truth stand in the way of spinning a good yarn. When his guardian, Uncle Squinton-"the meanest man in the entire state of Maine"-sells off Homer P. Figg's older brother, Harold, to take a rich man's son's place in the Union army, Homer can't just stand around doing nothing. Determined to alert the authorities (and his brother) that Harold is too young to be a soldier, the plucky narrator traces the path of the regiment. He faces many dangers, including "an abduction or two, and being robbed and thrown in with the pigs, and joining the Caravan of Miracles" before landing smack in the middle of the Battle of Gettysburg, where he reunites with his brother and more or less drives the Confederates away. The book wouldn't be nearly as much fun without Homer's tall tales, but there are serious moments, too, and the horror of war and injustice of slavery ring clearly above the din of playful exaggerations. Ages 9-12. (Jan.)

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School Library Journal

Gr 5-8

When his older brother gets conscripted into the Union Army, Homer runs away from his uncle, "the meanest man in the entire state of Maine." He sets out after Harold but has multiple misadventures along the way. He survives thanks to courage, luck, and his talent for telling lies when needed, since "old Truth ain't nearly as useful as a fib sometimes." Homer relates his own adventures in colorful language as he crosses paths with con men, rogues, and scoundrels of various types. The comic tone is reflected in character names, such as Stink and Smelt, the cold-blooded slave catchers, and the kind but shifty Professor Fleabottom. Things take a more somber tone when Homer sees the horrors of the battlefield up close. The final reunion of the brothers during the Battle of Gettysburg is bittersweet. Homer's escapades introduce some interesting features of the year 1863, including the Underground Railroad, a traveling medicine show, Civil War spies, and an early version of the hydrogen balloon. Homer runs into plenty of danger, but there's more comedy than suspense in most episodes. He also deals with some moral dilemmas as he tries to make sense of the wide world and find people and ideas to believe in. The engaging protagonist and mixture of humor and adventure make this a strong choice for fans of Sid Fleischman's tales.-Steven Engelfried, Multnomah County Library, OR

Kirkus Reviews
Shortly after this lively comic yarn opens, Homer, a half-starved orphan boy who lives in rural Maine with his mean-spirited uncle and 17-year-old brother Harold, helplessly watches as Harold is sworn into the Union Army. After finding out that their avaricious uncle sold his underage nephew to substitute for a richer neighbor in the Civil War, 12-year-old Homer takes off on a rescue mission. On the way, Homer is kidnapped by some nefarious slave-catchers, joins a traveling medicine show and holds up the Union colors during the Battle of Gettysburg. Bursting with vividly voiced characters and descriptions so crisp they practically crunch, the story is trenchantly narrated in the first person by Homer, a resourceful, sharp-witted child who is never without a lie in his pocket. Despite the overall comic tone, Philbrick makes serious points about the evil of slavery, the horrors of war, inexplicable bravery, ethical decision-making and the need to move forward in one's life. (Historical fiction. 9-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780739372326
  • Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/13/2009
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: UBR
  • Pages: 4
  • Sales rank: 535,913
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 5.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Rodman Philbrick’s first novel for young readers, Freak the Mighty, won the California Young Readers Medal as well as numerous state awards. The sequel, Max the Mighty, received starred reviews, and his novel The Fire Pony was named a 1996 Capital Choice. His most recent books for the Blue Sky Press include The Last Book in the Universe, which was named an ALA Best Book for Young Adults and a Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People, and The Young Man and the Sea, which was a School Library Journal Best Book of 2004 and received the Child Magazine Best Children‚s Book Award.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 2, 2011


    This book True of Homer P. Fig is a thrilling and amazing story about a 12 year old boy who is on a mission to find his 17 year old brother named Harold that was sold to the Army illegally by his uncle. Homer is brave and has a lot of courage to go though what he needs to do to find his brother. Homer has lived with his uncle after his mother pass away. Homer need to go though a lot to save his brother which includes being robbed, kidnapped by slaves catchers, rescuing an Underground Railroad conductor, and being captured by General Lee during the civil war and this is the reason Homer need to hurry to rescue his brother Harold before he is sent to war. As you read this story the tension make you feel like you are part of the book. I highly recommend this book to anyone that likes to read advent ion stories> I look forward on reading another of these authors' brooks.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2011

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