Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Actual and Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher

The Actual & Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher by Jessica Lawson is a re-imagining of events surrounding Mark Twain's classic story, but from a different perspective.

After her brother died, Becky's father, Judge Thatcher, decided that the family needed a new start in St. Petersburg, Missouri. The problem is, Becky's mother is still holding on to her grief, leaving Becky mostly to her own devices -- and Becky's response is to become to most audacious little scamp ever to roam the banks of the mighty Mississippi! From throwing spitballs to sneaking into a witch's house to tracking down wanted criminals, there's nothing Becky will stop at -- even when it puts her in considerable danger.

I think young readers will have a lot of fun with this book, and those who have read Tom Sawyer will appreciate the clever way that this book comes together, as Becky's exploits amuse and inspire a stranded riverboat captain by the name of Sam Clemens. For myself, I'm afraid I found Becky hard to like, as her hijinks often seemed a little hard-hearted. There's no denying the humor of the book, nor that it touches on deeper issues of grief and family, so I would recommend this book, especially to readers who don't mind reading about a character who is not always likable.

(Reviewed from an advance copy, courtesy of the publisher.)

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