Lawson, Jessica. Actual & Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher. Simon & Schuster 2014 224p $16.99 ISBN 978-1-4814-0150-0 ms/hs Historical fiction E-BN
Cleverly written in the voice of Samuel Clemens, this book provides a new twist to the Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn classics. It is so well-written that it is difficult to believe that this book was not an original in those adventures. Jessica Lawson realistically spins a tale that weaves in the original characters from the classics and puts Becky Thatcher in the role of mischief maker, suggesting that “maybe Tom Sawyer wasn’t the REAL troublemaker.” Incidentally, in this story Tom is a goody-goody tattle tale until Becky “fixes” him.
Becky Thatcher is new to St. Petersburg, Missouri. She has just lost her older brother to illness and her mother to a deep depression. As she begins school, she meets notorious characters like Sid and Tom Sawyer, the Widow Douglas, Joe Harper, Sam Clemens and others who become her new friends. She befriends Amy Lawrence and the pair sets out on crazy adventures involving the entire community to steal a relic from the witch Widow Douglas.
Preparing for a bet, they are digging up dirt from the cemetery when they stumble upon the outlawed, grave-robbing Pritchard brothers, and their adventure turns dangerous. Becky desperately tries to prove that the accused widow is not the grave robber, but her plans backfire, and the solution causes the problems to worsen, much in the same manner that things occurred in the Mark Twain classics.
This exciting, fun and clever novel will resonate well with young readers and can serve as a companion to the Mississippi- and Missouri-based classics by Mark Twain. The creativity demonstrated by Jessica Lawson is unbelievably amazing! It evoked fond memories of reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn long ago, and may quite possibly entice young readers to read these classics.
This book has been recommended as an Excellent Book of Note, provided that the story does not change from the “advanced review” copy that was evaluated.
Summary: Becky Thatcher, who is new to St. Petersburg, Missouri, has just lost her older brother, and her mother is in a deep depressive state; but Becky thrives on adventures and is able to cope and bring her brother along by taking his special bag of marbles with her.
Adventure-Fiction --Virginia McGarvey