Becky: The Life and Loves of Becky Thatcher
Besides the immediate appeal of visiting again with Mark Twain’s immortal characters, the author has created an adventure story that should satisfy both genders who pick up this treatment of the story from the viewpoint of Becky Thatcher. Laced through the narrative are many comments on the books, including some rather snide ones regarding the helplessness and lack of fortitude exhibited by the “fictional” Becky Thatcher. Several famous incidents, for example, being lost in the caves, are told through flashbacks.
Locales shift from Missouri to Nevada to California, roughly following the life of Sam Clemens, who appears as a character along with Tom Sawyer, Aunt Polly’s children Sid and Mary, Judge Thatcher, the freed slave Jim, and Huck Finn. The appalling mixed political muddle that was Civil War Missouri is depicted at length and realistically, as Union and Confederate armies and irregulars become indistinguishable in ferocity. Becky’s family flees west to the mining country of Virginia City, where she finds a bit more freedom but rough conditions (Roughing it? Get it?). The book ends with Becky a news reporter in San Francisco with no desire to return to the confining standards of the east. The great love of her life is always Tom Sawyer, as you’ve always suspected, but I’m not giving away the details. Suffice it to say that while the author explores Tom’s character for adult depth, Mr. Sawyer is quite the same rascal we all remember.