My Name is America
The Journal of Augustus Pelletier
The Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804)
It the beginning pages, we meet the voice of our story - Augustus, a 14 year old boy.
Augustus’ ear has been nearly severed off by his abusive stepfather, and he has to stitch it together himself using cat gut. This is the last straw; he has decided to leave his cruel life behind and join the Corps of Discovery with Lewis & Clark. And so begins his quest.
Because he is young, Augustus knows he will be sent back home if discovered, so he shadows the Corps for a little over a month traveling along the riverbank.
Finally when he can stand it no more, he comes out of hiding to assist Captain Lewis with some measurements. Since he can read and write well, he is allowed to accompany and assist with the expedition, where he proves quite useful.
He serves as a scribe to Captain Lewis and gives great descriptions of how the crew work and how the Captains collect and record data.
Augustus befriends Sacajawea and since he can speak somewhat of a native tongue, he is able to pick up words and additional information from her. His journal shares with us the hardships, set backs, and victories of the expedition.
Note: In this book, Augustus says “dang” or “darn” every so often and occasional things of that nature. This may or many not bother you. I easily changed the wording or skipped it entirely as we read. Even considering that, we really enjoyed this book and were pulled into the expedition. We gained an understanding of not only the difficulty of such a monumental venture, but the adventurous spirit of traveling through a new land and trying to take in every new thing. Thanks to Augustus, we won’t soon forget our study of The Lewis & Clark Expedition.