On My Honor
by Marion Dane Bauer
HMH Books for Young Readers
Originally published 1986
Newbery Honor Book – 1987
Joel’s best friend, Tony, is a daredevil. It was Tony’s idea to make the long bike ride to
the Starved Rock state park, and Tony’s idea to stop for a swim in the dangerous Vermillion River. So why does Joel feel so much guilt when tragedy strikes?
Bauer hit a home run with this short story about a single decision that changed lives forever. Tony and Joel were born less than a week apart and grew up together as Tony’s mother watched Joel while his parents worked. On My Honor takes place the summer after sixth grade and Joel is wondering exactly why he is friends with Tony. They could not be more different. Joel enjoys swimming at the local pool, while Tony prefers the daredevil life. After convincing Joel’s father to let them ride their bikes eight miles to the state park, they stop at the river where a fight breaks out between the two friends. Joel was fed up with Tony’s demanding to do things his way (and after a few jabs at each others’ parents) and made a dare that he knew Tony would never pass up.
The raw emotions that Bauer evoked in just a few short passages brought home the feelings that many know…why don’t parents see through lies…why don’t friends enjoy the same things…why don’t friends listen to each other…why did I say what I said…why can’t I take it back…how can I live with myself.
A real tear-jerking ending touches on the pain of not being able to make things right and being angry at everyone in the world because of it.
On My Honor was awarded the Newbery Honor Award (1987). The Whipping Boy won the Medal. Personally, I think this was a much better book than The Whipping Boy.
Overall rating: ♥♥♥♥♥