The funny thing is, when I was reading this aloud to my kids this fall, I remembered almost none of it. I thought it took place mostly aboard ship, but it was actually mostly about how Nathaniel Bowditch grew up self-educated and the struggles he went through to learn and understand things. Not struggles because he had a learning disability, but because he was incredibly smart but not rich enough to afford a good education. So, he taught himself Latin and higher mathematics and navigating and all sorts of complex things.
I didn't realize this as a kid, but Nathaniel Bowditch was a real person, and this is basically a biography written like a novel. That made it more interesting to me this time through, though I do think the whole book was not nearly so exciting as I remembered. I definitely appreciated the themes of never giving up and not letting others discourage you, but my kids had trouble staying engaged with the book. Partly because all the side characters kept dying off in the most abrupt ways possible. Once we learned this was based on a real person's life, that became a little more understandable, I guess.
Overall, this is one of the rare occasions where I remember loving something as a kid or teen, but discover I now only like it okay. I'm glad I reread it, but I doubt I'll reread it again.
If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It: G. Nothing untoward here.