Burial on Water Box Mountain

Herman H. White 
Outskirts Press (2013)
ISBN 9781478710097
Reviewed by Arianna Violante (age 20) for Reader Views (01/15) 

"Burial on Water Box Mountain" by Herman H. White is a great and quick read for the young adult male, especially the outdoor enthusiast. Set in rural Kentucky, fourteen year old Joseph wants to avenge the death of his beloved dog, which he believes was killed by a strange creature hiding somewhere in the mountains. On the cusp of adolescence, Joseph decides to investigate Water Box Mountain and kill the creature that killed his dog. A short read but with much imagery of the Kentucky mountainside, Joseph deals with the in-between stage of not being a child anymore, but not yet a man. Joseph avenging his dog is, in his mind, the first step towards manhood. In the eyes of his parents and school teacher, this is a step backwards into childhood. During his investigation in the mountains, Joseph demonstrates bravery and intelligence while avoiding other dangerous predators, including rowdy and cruel men, and the very creature that killed his dog. While on his adventures, he rescues a dog and encounters an unpredictable plot twist. The book not only explores adolescence vs. adulthood and childhood, but it also explores revenge and whether or not it brings closure. Driven by ambition and wanting to avenge his deceased dog, Joseph is single minded in his goal; but how does Joseph feel once his goal is reached? Once the mystery is solved and the puzzle pieces are put together, can he say it was worth the effort? Is revenge ever worth it? Is being a man determined by being able to carry out difficult decisions and not feel bad about them, or rather knowing and accepting the full consequences?

“Burial on Water Box Mountain” by Herman H. White is a great book for young male teenagers, wondering the definition of manhood. It is especially well suited for the adventurous and outdoorsy type that is looking for a good, quick read.

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