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70 pages
1 heure
Sep 22, 1986


A Newbery Honor Book. “A gripping, compassionate portrayal of a boy’s struggle with conscience” by the bestselling author of My Mother Is Mine (Kirkus Reviews).
While on a bike trip, Joel’s best friend Tony drowns while they are swimming in the forbidden, treacherous Vermilion River. Joel is terrified at having to tell of his disobedience and overwhelmed by his feelings of guilt, even though the daring act was Tony’s idea, and Joel didn’t know that Tony couldn’t swim.  But Joel’s loving and protective father will help him deal with the tragic aftermath—and understand that we all must live with the choices we make.  
“A powerful, soul-stirring novel told simply and well.”—Booklist (starred review)
“This is a devastating but beautifully written story of a boy’s all-consuming guilt over the role he plays in the death of his best friend . . . Bauer’s honest and gripping novel joins the ranks of such as Katherine Paterson’s Bridge to Terabithia in its handling of these issues.”—Publishers Weekly
“Descriptions are vivid, characterization and dialogue natural, and the style taut but unforced. A powerful, moving book.”—School Library Journal
Sep 22, 1986

À propos de l'auteur

Marion Dane Bauer has written more than one hundred children's books, including picture books, easy readers, early chapter books, and novels. She won a Newbery Honor for On My Honor, a middle grade coming-of-age story. She lives in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. www.mariondanebauer.com.

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Aperçu du livre

On My Honor - Marion Dane Bauer


For the Mason family, whose lives

formed part of the fabric of my childhood.

Copyright © 1986 by Marion Dane Bauer

All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Sandpiper, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Originally published in hardcover in the United States by Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 1986.

SANDPIPER and the SANDPIPER logo are trademarks of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, write to Permissions, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, New York 10003.


The Library of Congress has cataloged the hardcover edition as follows:

Bauer, Marion Dane.

On my honor.

Summary: When his best friend drowns while they are swimming in a treacherous river that they had promised never to go near, Joel is devastated and terrified at having to tell both sets of parents the terrible consequences of their disobedience.

[1. Obedience—Fiction. 2. Accidents—Fiction.]

I. Title.

PZ7.B3262On 1986 [Fic] 86-2679

ISBN: 978-0-89919-439-4 hardcover

ISBN: 978-0-547-72240-5 paperback

eISBN 978-0-547-53411-4



On My Honor is a book that needs no introduction. Nor does it need critical praise—the Newbery Committee of 1987 saw to that when they gave it a Newbery Honor. So this is really a celebration of a remarkable achievement. Twenty-five years ago in ninety pages of deceptively simple prose, in a story covering less than one day, Marion Dane Bauer first took readers on a wrenching emotional journey from which this reader, for one, has never quite recovered. Reading the book again, more than twenty years later, I found that the impact, if anything, is more powerful.

When I first read the story I immediately recalled the summer of 1953. I was a college student working in a tiny church in Bristol, England, on a large housing development. Not many people attended the church services, but lots of children came to the programs that the church provided. My particular assignment was to work with these children. I was living with the pastor and his family, and I was there in their house one sunny afternoon when the phone rang. I watched Michael’s face go gray as he listened. Two of our sixth grade girls had been out playing when Alison dared Pamela to climb an enormous tree that grew on the edge of the development. Pamela had climbed nearly to the top when the branch she was on gave way and she plunged to the ground. The call was from the hospital where Pamela had died from a broken neck. My first thought on hearing this terrible news was this: Pamela is dead and Alison will have to live with the memory of Pamela’s death for the rest of her life.

On My Honor is an unflinching account of just such a tragedy, compounded by Joel’s completely human impulse to try to cover up any involvement in his friend’s death. The story may be fiction, but the feelings are agonizingly true to life. In the wrenching final scene, Joel begs his father to make the smell of river go away. I can’t, his father says quietly. In no way can he mitigate his son’s pain or the guilt that racks his young body. He knows Joel must live with those, just as he himself must live with the knowledge that he gave the boys permission to do something he knew was risky. The only thing he can do is stay by his son during this terrible time, and this he promises to do.

There you have it. Though Bauer is a gifted teacher, the impulse to turn her novel into a moral lesson or cautionary tale has been avoided. She simply tells the story. It is up to us, the readers of whatever age, to draw the conclusions for our own lives, and let us hope that every reader whose life touches a similar tragedy has someone sitting there beside him in the darkness.

Katherine Paterson

Chapter One

CLIMB THE STARVED ROCK BLUFFS? YOU’VE gotta be kidding! Joel’s spine tingled at the mere thought of trying to scale the sheer river bluffs in the state park. He looked Tony square in the eye. Somebody got killed last year trying to do that! Don’t you remember?

Tony shrugged, popped a wheelie on his battered BMX, spun in place. Nobody knows if that guy was really trying to climb the bluffs. He might have fallen off the top . . . or even jumped.

Joel bent over his Schwinn ten-speed and brushed imaginary dust off the fender. Well, I’m not going to ride out there with you if that’s what you’re going to do. It’s dumb. He tried to sound tough, sure of himself. Maybe, for once, he would be able to talk Tony out of one of his crazy ideas.

You don’t have to climb if you’re scared, Bates, Tony said.

Who’s scared? Joel licked his lips, which seemed to have gone dry. I’d just rather go swimming, that’s all. It’s going to be a scorcher today. Or we could work on our tree house. My dad got us some more wood.

We can do the tree house later, Tony said, "after we get back. And I don’t feel like

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