Friday, October 12, 2012

A Little Princess - by Frances Eliza Hodgson Burnett

Free US/UK Kindle Classic

Let's get this out in the open.  I like what they call YA (Young Adult) literature.  Sometimes that means returning to a beloved book of my youth and sometimes it means reading new YA literature, such as "The Hunger Games" trilogy.  I substitute teach at times for an elementary school librarian and I enjoy keeping up with the literature by reading books from the shelves.

A Little Princess; being the whole story of Sara Crewe now told for the first time (sometimes familiarly  called "Sara Crewe" or "A Little Princess") is a 1905 novel by English writer Frances Eliza Hodgson Burnett.  (US Edition)  (UK Edition)  If you know this novel, you know why I selected it and are probably eager for to pick it up again.  Although it is read by younger readers - as with the best YA books - it can also appeal to adults.  Let's take a look:

During her short life only one thing had troubled her, and that thing was "the place" she was to be taken to some day. The climate of India was very bad for children, and as soon as possible they were sent away from it—generally to England and to school. She had seen other children go away, and had heard their fathers and mothers talk about the letters they received from them. She had known that she would be obliged to go also, and though sometimes her father's stories of the voyage and the new country had attracted her, she had been troubled by the thought that he could not stay with her.

 "Couldn't you go to that place with me, papa?" she had asked when she was five years old. "Couldn't you go to school, too? I would help you with your lessons."

So we have a young English girl born in India and reluctantly headed to England for her education.  

"I am not in the least anxious about her education," Captain Crewe said, with his gay laugh, as he held Sara's hand and patted it. "The difficulty will be to keep her from learning too fast and too much. She is always sitting with her little nose burrowing into books. She doesn't read them, Miss Minchin; she gobbles them up as if she were a little wolf instead of a little girl.

That is nice.  Bookish young girls like to read about . . . young girls like themselves.  But I do not think it is giving away anything to say that hard times are ahead!

The Amazon Reader Reviews number 223 if you combine the US & UK reviews.  That is remarkable when you consider that many of the books I write about have never been reviewed.  The books average 4 1/2 stars which is very good.  I consider this a must read and it will be on my Kindle when I travel this weekend.  I look forward to spending time with Sara Crewe again.

P.S.  For some demented reason, the plot is summarized in a paragraph with the table of contents.  Skip to the beginning of the book not to learn the ending!

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