Raft of Stars by Andrew J. Graff

TitleRaft of Stars
AuthorAndrew J. Graff
Finished ReadingDecember 27, 2021

Report about the report

If you follow my blog even casually you likely know I was an English literature major in college in the early 1970s. When I post my reading reports I channel the skills I learned there; primarily, if I make a statement I support it with quotes from the book. For example: in Raft of Stars each of the three people  through whom we see the plot progress calls for help; I point that out in my report, but this time without citations. Maybe you would notice that, or maybe not.

After my first post college job – teaching English at the Idaho State Correctional Institution – I went back to school to earn a Master’s degree in Library Science. One of the courses I took on was institutional libraries: law, research facilities, large corporations, and the like. One of the institutional librarian’s responsibilities is to summarize books and articles for people. From those summaries, the client could determine if the book or article was valuable. Each week we would have to write a 100 word summary of some book we read. I SUCKED at it in the early going. With all that essay writing in college I had those earlier rules drilled into my head. I got better as the term progressed. 

But that earlier essay style is what has driven most of my blog’s reading reports. I’m going to try to change that up for at least some of my reading posts. Sometimes, it is essential to use quotes from the books in order to evoke the author’s skills; other times, a quick summation may do. Will I be able to get down to 100 word summaries? Not likely; this report on Andrew J. Graff’s Raft of Stars comes in at 187 words – after editing – and I still could say more.


Fischer, “Fish”, Branson and Dale, “Bread”, Breadwin are best friends in upper Wisconsin. Fish shoots Bread’s dad as he is abusing his son. The two boys hike and raft through the deep north woods to avoid the consequences. Two pairs of adults go in pursuit: Sheriff Cal and Fish’s grandfather go by horseback while Fish’s mom, Miranda, and Tiffany later go via canoe. 

The story is told in third person through the eyes of one of each of the couples: Fish, Cal, and Tiffany. 

Each of them is searching for help in their crisis in their lives and the hardships of the pursuit brings clarity. The names Fish and Bread evoke Christian overtones and each of the characters have moments of connection with spiritual elements of their nature trips. 

This is quick, exciting adventure story and almost everyone lives happily ever after. Some of the characters are a bit “stock”; the Sheriff rethinks his career, Teddy saw too much violence in the war and wants peace, Tiffany bemoans the fact she never left her hometown, and Fish is consumed with a lie he has perpetuated on Bread.

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