The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
Rating: PG-13 (violence)
Recommended for: Ages 13 and up
The wild rush of action in this classic frontier adventure story has made The Last of the Mohicans the most popular of James Fenimore Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales. Deep in the forests of upper New York State, the brave woodsman Hawkeye (Natty Bumppo) and his loyal Mohican friends Chingachgook and Uncas become embroiled in the bloody battles of the French and Indian War. The abduction of the beautiful Munro sisters by hostile savages, the treachery of the renegade brave Magua, the ambush of innocent settlers, and the thrilling events that lead to the final tragic confrontation between rival war parties create an unforgettable, spine-tingling picture of life on the frontier. And as the idyllic wilderness gives way to the forces of civilization, the novel presents a moving portrayal of a vanishing race and the end of its way of life in the great American forests.
I was told that this book was really good and really terrible because people died. It is not my favorite book that I have read for school this year, but there are some good things.
The style is the same as most classics. So, it was wordy and difficult to focus on. There would be some action and it would be interesting and then it would get boring again. There were a lot of notes at the back of the book in the edition that I read. I didn't read all of them but the ones that I did read were helpful. They would explain about the different names of the Indian tribes, which could get confusing.
The story takes place in New England during the French and Indian war. There was a lot of description about the landscape and the Indian villages and about some historical things. From what I learned in history, one character was wrong about the behavior of the American soldiers in battles, saying they didn't fight in a way that they did. I learned that the British made fun of them for fighting in that way.
Throughout the entire story, they were mostly just escaping, being kidnapped, rescuing each other, and fleeing. I think I mostly followed the plot, but there were a couple times where I was a little confused. The plot itself wasn't that complicated, as long as you remembered where everyone was. If you are able to get into this story, it would be pretty intense and exciting, but the writing style kept me from getting into it.
There was one character that sometimes went by his first name and sometimes by his last name. I had to ask if they were the same person. The characters are mostly unique from each other, but I don't remember there being a huge difference between Cora and Alice. I do think that they all could have been developed more. The main bad guy is vindictive and tries to hurt the father of Cora and Alice because he is mad about having been punished. Hawkeye picks on David for singing Psalms instead of using a weapon, and, although David isn't a fighter, he is willing to put his life on the line for others. There is also some romance.
While this wasn't my favorite classic, it is still good and clean (unlike The Hunchback of Notre Dame), and there is Christianity in it, though one character has kind of left it. If you like classics and like this period of history, you will probably like this book.