In Zane and the Hurricane, Rodman Philbrick attempts to bring the infamous Hurricane Katrina to life for the younger generation. This he does in a manner that balances both the realities of the tragedy with the sensitivities of young readers. One might be disappointed that Philbrick doesn’t make his main character a native of New Orleans, but by making Zane from New Hampshire and a somewhat neutral observer, Philbrick is able to establish an emotional boundary that protects the reader from the trauma and horror he needs to describe. The wider story arc of a boy discovering his roots and experiencing one of the worst disasters in American history will satisfy any reader; while the injustices, heartbreak and chaos of post-Katrina New Orleans will prick the heart of the more mature reader and lead one to awe at the power of Mother Nature, and to wonder at both the nobility and the contemptibility that encompass human nature.
This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by The Blue Sky Press
Violence/Gore:Character trapped by floodwater; vague description of dead bodies floating in the water and the smell; encounter with a swarm of poisonous snakes; characters flee from a drug boss; guns aimed and threats to characters from security detail; police blockade, threats to shoot, an animal is shot and wounded badly; secondhand report of two characters killed.
Mature Subject Matter:
Death, human suffering, guns.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
A character’s mother is described as a drug addict in rehab; villain in story is a drug boss.