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We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Book Review

Last Message by Shane Peacock has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It is part of the "Seven" series.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Sixteen-year-old Adam lives in Buffalo, New York, with his parents. He has average grades, a pretty girlfriend and a decent life. He regrets that his recently-deceased grandfather, war hero David McLean, believed Adam wouldn’t amount to much. At the reading of the will, David’s lawyer gives each of his seven grandsons a unique mission. Adam receives money and a packet of letters. He is only allowed to share part of his mission with his parents. Adam and his parents will fly to France in an area where David spent time during the war. Adam’s parents are to enjoy time in Marseille while Adam stays at a hotel in a small town nearby to carry out David’s requests.

Adam is only allowed to open one of his grandfather’s envelopes at a time and can’t move on until he has accomplished each task. In the first envelope, David reveals he was shot down over the town in France where Adam is staying. A farming family named Noel hid him from a militant French-Nazi group.

David discovered a painting in the Noels’ barn that he could tell was an original Van Gogh. He was sure they had no idea of its value, so he planned to take it when he was rescued. He reasoned that the Noels wouldn’t want that kind of money anyway and it would only spoil them.

David’s rescue from France came quickly, and he wasn’t able to take the painting as he had planned. Even so, he always regretted thinking about stealing and about keeping the painting’s value from the family. He charges Adam with meeting the family, apologizing for him and telling them the truth about the painting.

Adam meets with the Noels. They are thrilled to learn he’s David’s grandson. Adam fails to mention the painting. When he sees it in the barn, which is about to be demolished, he decides no one will know if he takes it for himself. Even though he hasn’t accomplished the first task the way David asked, he moves on to the second envelope.

Adam’s second task is to find a rock. David had developed a friendship with Antoine de Saint-Exupery, the author of the famous book The Little Prince. David had carved some sayings about friendship on a special stone and given it to “St. Ex.” He always wondered whether St. Ex was carrying the stone the day the author’s plane went down and he died.

The plane was found sometime later, but most of it was still underwater. David asks Adam to find out if the rock is there. To do this, Adam has to hire a man with a submergible device. When Adam sees nothing underwater, he learns the man’s son the has a unique rock. It turns out to be his grandfather’s stone. He pays the boy for it and moves on.

Throughout his trip, Adam thinks about a schoolmate named Vanessa. He writes embellished letters about his experiences and mails them to her to seem romantic. He barely texts more than a few sentences to his girlfriend, Shirley.

Adam’s third and final task is to go into the Chauvet Cave and see if it contains the meaning of life, as legend suggests. Adam quickly learns the Chauvet Cave is a secret excavation project that only scientists and a few special guests are permitted to enter. Adam asks around and meets with an eccentric author named Mermoz, who has clearance into the cave. Mermoz is intrigued by Adam’s story of his grandfather and disguises the boy as him. Adam gets in far enough to see amazing cave drawings dating back thousands of years. When someone recognizes he isn’t Mermoz, he makes a quick escape. On the run from the French police, Adam quickly checks out of his hotel. He calls his parents and tells them he’s ready to go home. They can’t get a flight out for a few days, so he feels nervous as he waits.

Adam opens a final envelope from his grandfather that he expects to contain some enlightening conclusion to this journey. Instead, the envelope is empty. Adam finds meaning in the empty envelope. He realizes he needs to return the painting to the Noels. He also begins to appreciate Shirley and realize she means more to him than Vanessa. He gives the friendship rock to a waitress with whom he often spoke.

Adam is still nervous when he and his parents finally reach the airport. A voice over the loudspeaker calls him to the security desk, and he’s sure he will be arrested for breaking into the cave. Instead, he discovers his grandfather left him a package. Inside is a copy of The Little Prince.

As Adam flies home, he talks to his mother about David. He learns he had misunderstood his grandfather’s comment about him never amounting to much. David had actually said the world might judge Adam that way, but they would be wrong. Adam reads the passage his grandfather highlighted in The Little Prince about seeing with one’s heart and noticing the important things that are invisible to the eye. Adam is thankful for his grandfather’s last message.

Christian Beliefs

Adam says he doesn’t consider himself a big believer in God, although he’s still trying to figure that out. When he sees a beautiful natural bridge, he says if God didn’t make that, he doesn’t know who or what did.

Other Belief Systems

None

Authority Roles

David painstakingly creates and pays for missions for his grandsons to teach them valuable life lessons. Adam’s parents are curious about David’s mission but give Adam space to follow David’s wishes.

Profanity/Violence

The Lord’s name is used in vain a few times. S---, h---, a--, p--s and butt appear.

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Adam and his cousins learn that their grandfather had a brief relationship with another woman after their grandmother’s death. They had a child, and the child had a child. This means they have a mysterious cousin they don’t know.

Adam has a girlfriend named Shirley. He mentions kissing her and liking it. He is enthralled with another schoolmate named Vanessa. He often mentions thinking about her tight jeans and sweaters and imagines what it would be like to kiss her. A waitress kisses him. Adam thinks Mermoz is sitting in his car naked and wonders if he is a pervert. Mermoz is actually wearing boxers and has no ill intentions.

Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments/Notes

Lies/deception: Adam lies about his age to impress a waitress, embellishes things in his letters to Vanessa to impress her and steals a Van Gogh painting.

Alcohol: Tourists near the cave drink a lot.

This series: “Seven” is a collection of books about the seven grandsons of David McLean and the missions they must undertake after his death. A different author writes each book, and the books can be read in any order.

You can request a review of a title you can't find at reviewrequests@family.org.

Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

10 and up

Author

Shane Peacock

Cast

Director

Distributor

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

Orca Book Publishers

Released

On Video

Year Published

2012

Awards

Unknown

Reviewer

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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