Thursday, May 24, 2012

Slant-wise and Upside-down

How I feel about this book is much like how I've been feeling about my life recently.


The better word for this novel is probably something more along the lines of: shifting realitites. Or some such nonsense.

Becky Thatcher. We all remember her from that classic, Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. She's Tom's big love interest, and can you blame him? The shy glances, the twin braids, the gingham! But, according to this novel, Becky: The Life and Loves of Becky Thatcher, little old Samuel Clemens took a few liberties with the veracity of that story.

In this novel, Becky Thatcher is nothing if not fiery. She is a tough old soul who keeps getting thrown curveballs by life and takes them with determination and dignity. I'd say "like a man," but more and more I'm realizing that phrases like that don't hold with the truth of the matter. And so does she. She basically does what she likes. She runs with Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn at nights around Hannibal, MO (a fact Mr. Twain conveniently left out), Injun Joe was, in fact, innocent and wasn't actually planning on killing them, and Tom Sawyer did not rescue her from that cave of death. Along the way, there is much more for the reader to enjoy, far past the familiar story-line of Tom Sawyer. There is love and loss and shame and guilt and PROSPECTING. Everyone enjoys a good bit of prospecting. The main theme here is that Mark Twain twisted the truth so much that it was no longer the real version of what had happened. Becky Thatcher is merely setting the record straight. It makes for an exciting story. There's the familiar plotline of Tom Sawyer woven into the rest of her story -- how she marries Tom's cousin Sid, goes off to war to try and bring him home safe, how they eventually travel West, and how Tom Sawyer never really seems to be out of their lives. He is a powerful character, even when she hates the fact that she is so easily influenced by him. He is the one thing in her life that she can never, ever hope to change or erase from her existence. We've all had that one love (or just person) who we can't get rid of from our minds and our hearts, no matter how hard we try. They linger and fester there, and if we never get the chance to really love them and be loved by them, that old hurt just continues to ferment and torment. Some people can find peace, but others, like Becky Thatcher, are doomed to forever focus on that one person like a haunting death wish. The one caveat I have for people wanting to read this book is: it does really help to be familiar with the Tom Sawyer story. When I was in school, they made us read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and he's in there a lot, but this story isn't about him. It's about Tom, and unless you're like me and read Tom just because you wanted some extra fun (yes, that was why I read it), then maybe this isn't the book for you. If you have read Tom Sawyer, then delve right in. It's kind of a beach read -- not too straining on the dendrytes, I'll say, but it's not a super trashy romance novel. And, let's be honest here. You would be a million times better off reading this than Snooki's book (if you can call it a book). It's not Charles Dickens (oh what a snob I am) but it is fun. As for myself, this might be my last fun book for a while. But probably not. I can't seem to resist a good fluffy book. I just started up a new independent study (whether or not it's for credit remains to be seen) with one of my old professors, so I'm going to have a lot of researching to do with that one. Then, I have my Dickens novel to chip away at over the course of the summer (I WILL FINISH IT MWAHAHAHA), and after that, we'll just have to see. I could use a few recommendations, as always. And hopefully, as my reading becomes more regular and orderly, so will my life. One can only hope.

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