Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain

genre: adult fiction

Probably you know the idea of this story already: a street urchin and a prince trade places and see life "on the other side."  And that is definitely the crux of the plot.   Tom, the urchin, thinks that there could be nothing better in the world than being king and Edward, the prince, dreams of a free life out on the streets.  Of course, reality is always a rude awakening and both being a prince and being a street rat have their, uh, disadvantages.

I read this one because my sixth grader is studying it in her English class.  At first I was a bit skeptical - the language is pretty archaic sometimes, but the more I read the more I could see that there is a lot of good things to discuss in this story.  About appreciating what we have.  About how we handle disappointment and misunderstanding.  About how being rich or poor does not determine whether or not we are good, honorable people.  About how our visible circumstances can dictate SO MANY of the assumptions people make about us. I liked that she and I were able to have some interesting conversations as we went over her schoolwork. 

While it's not a page-turner, necessarily, it wasn't a complete drudgery to read.  There were several pretty beautiful passages, actually.  If nothing else, it is certainly the basis of all kinds of rags-to-riches and trading-places stories, and I do like reading the original.  I'd give it 3.5 stars.

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1 comment:

bermudaonion said...

I've seen plenty of remakes of this story, but have never read it. I always have to settle into the language with a book like this.

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