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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Though the women are subservient to the men, they are also the only ones with any sense. Noah's family members are fanatics, contemptuous of the world and each other, and content to let humanity perish.
Violence & Scariness
The human race drowns, bodies are floating everywhere, Noah's family beat survivors away with clubs, Shem beats and kicks his wife, a baby is killed by a mink, Noah orders his daughter killed.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A 12-year-old boy and 13-year-old girl are married. It is implied that they have sex.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some wine drinking and drunkenness. A 12-year-old is given quantities of wine before being forced to marry.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this is an unrelentingly horrific portrayal of what it might have been like on the ark: many bodies, brutal behavior. The author raises complex issues of morality and faith, and provides no answers. Those with strong religious beliefs may find the portrait of Noah and his family as fanatics bordering on lunatics offensive.
Is It Any Good?
This is not your children's Bible stories. Our predominant cultural images of the Noah's ark story have always been of the gentle lions with the adorable lambs, all in pairs, on a clean ship with good people for a miraculous journey. But author Geraldine McCaughrean brings it to life as a real horror show. Until the end, this story is one of unrelenting horror and degradation of mind, body, and spirit, and the author pulls no punches.
The fetid mountains of dung, the fleas and lice and mice (none of which are just a pair for long), the noise and filth and especially smell -- all are rendered vividly. But McCaughrean goes far beyond this undeniably realistic picture to examine the psychological toll exacted upon the younger human passengers, forced to see the deaths of dozens and know that millions more have died. This is a tough read, and not for the squeamish, but could push teen readers to think more deeply about familiar Bible stories.
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