Book Review: The Great Brain, by John D. Fitzgerald

great_brain_coverI remember when I read this book in the sixth grade. It was one of my teacher’s favorites and at the end of the year he gave everyone in the class a copy.

Written in the late 1960s, The Great Brain is a classic novel. The story is set in Utah in the 1890s and based on the author’s real-life experiences as a child.

In the book, John and his brother Tom have many adventures together. Tom is tricky, clever, and a con man. He is known as the “Great Brain” and is always finding different ways to get money. Tom once charged the neighbor kids a penny each to see the hole that was being dug for the water closet, or outhouse. Tom manages to get their teacher fired as well. With Tom always causing trouble he seems like the bad guy, but he later grows from that. His plan to rescue the two boys lost in Skeleton Cave makes him a hometown hero. He then sees what can happen for someone if you do the right thing. Tom and John (known as J.D.) become closer as brothers as well as their whole family.

And that’s just the beginning. With the other seven books in the series, there are a lot more adventures to be had and lessons to learn. The titles in the series are:

  • More Adventures of the Great Brain
  • Me and My Little Brain
  • The Great Brain at the Academy
  • The Great Brain Reforms
  • The Return of the Great Brain
  • The Great Brain Does it Again
  • The Great Brain is Back

It is a great series filled with excitement, drama, and humor.

-Lauren B., 12th grade

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