Sunday, February 21, 2010
The True Adventures of Charley Darwin
I read this book just a couple of days after Darwin's birthday and enjoyed it immensely. It was easy to relate to the young Darwin and the picture of his life as a young boy was charming and surprising. The book also seemed fairly well-researched while allowing for small discrepancies to augment the narrative, which is just how I like it. What results is a fascinating portrait of a man and his time that provides a context to better understand both the man and his theories. I found it interesting following him on his travels as his ideas grew and become more solid and certain and seeing just how his theory evolved (I couldn't resist). Plus, I love it when novels have bibliographies in the back.
"Facts are unchanging but memories are mutable--sometimes sharp, sometimes out of focus, sometimes shadowy or absent altogether."
True story: apparently Darwin almost didn't go on the Beagle Expedition because Captain FitzRoy believed in phrenology and din't like the look of Darwin's nose--who knew? Although this is true I imagine the response Darwin uses in the novel that gets him on board is made up by the author: "Well sir, I can tell you that my nose has been known to tell the most outrageous lies about me." I like it anyway.
The True Adventures of Charley Darwin, by Carolyn Meyer. ISBN: 9780152061944