Readers have Nothing to Fear when reading Jack Koller’s book

Katie Guardado, Staff Reporter

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For as long as I can remember I’ve always been an anxious person, but not until recently did I question why or what I was afraid of. It all started eighth grade year, and like usual I was assigned a reading book for English class. Honestly, I was not eager to read yet another book about history, for I seldom comprehended them. After receiving the book, the teacher ensured us that this book was going to be different.

I was hoping that this book, Nothing to Fear by Jackie French Koller, would indeed be worth the hype. As I began to read I became engrossed with the novel; page after page and chapter after chapter, it didn’t lose my attention.

The novel begins on October 18, 1932 in the streets of New York City, where just three years prior, the New York stock Exchange crashed. The great depression had struck the nation, and over 3.2 million were unemployed. The story is told by a young 13 year old boy named after his father (Pa), Daniel Garvey. Danny lives with his mother (Mama) Molly Garvey, Pa, and his baby sister Maureen, which resembles the background of the author’s family whom she based the story on.

During this time, like everybody else, Danny and his family find themselves in a very dire situation. Danny is forced to work as a shoe-shiner, where he receives as low as a penny in a day, if he is fortunate at all. By this time, the Garvey’s have confronted the issue of poverty. There is no escaping the tragedy, so the only thing left to do is for Pa to leave his family behind to look for a job, leaving young Danny in charge of his family at a young age, while still going through life as an adolescent.

An aspect that I enjoyed about this novel was that it was very relatable. Not only was it relatable to me, but it’s relatable to all teens, not necessarily in the angle of poverty, but to everyday hardships that we find ourselves in.

The pace of the book keeps its momentum. It is upbeat, but yet it doesn’t lose my attention or strike confusion. The novel is easy to keep up with, and the author does a great job of being concise with her word choice which is simple but profound.

Though there is content that may be distressing, I recommend this book to anyone. Follow Danny through this long journey we call life to see how he discovers that “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

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