Little Lord FauntleroyGreetings. If you wish to read the book review, then skip down a few paragraphs to the section so marked in all caps and emboldened. I wish to preface this review with a brief tale about my efforts to read the book. Why? Well, this is my canvas, and I'll paint what I want, thank you very much.
I saw this movie once when I was a child/preteen, or thereabouts. It was the Alec Guiness/Ricky Schroeder version, and I remember I kind of liked it, but never did pick up the book. Such things didn't reallGreetings. If you wish to read the book review, then skip down a few paragraphs to the section so marked in all caps and emboldened. I wish to preface this review with a brief tale about my efforts to read the book. Why? Well, this is my canvas, and I'll paint what I want, thank you very much.I saw this movie once when I was a child/preteen, or thereabouts. It was the Alec Guiness/Ricky Schroeder version, and I remember I kind of liked it, but never did pick up the book. Such things didn't really occur to me back then. 20 or so years later I found the book in a bargain basement (or a store called Ollie's, rather), for $1.99. It was in excellent condition, and there was a whole huge stack of the things. (Ollie's sometimes resells things that schools or other stores want to get rid of). What was even better was that it was a "complete and unabridged" version, and not one of those that are edited for smaller children. The memories of the movie came back to me, and I decided I would add this book to the pile of unread treasures at my house, and get to it eventually.Well, I've read many things since then, one of them being the complete works of Sherlock Holmes. It is nine volumes long, and I've been inserting different books between the volumes just to freshen things up a bit. Had I stuck to the letter of my law, I would've finished Holmes by now, but I figured why not knock out the Fauntleroy since it's so short even though I had already read two other books since the last Holmes installment. I had planned to spend the entire day Sunday hitting it hard, and completing the task, but my plans never come off as originally envisioned since this thing called "life" tends to happen sometimes. Three days later in the late evening I'm still reading Fauntleroy at about a chapter a day, which is pathetically slow, but I'm enjoying it immensely. Eventually I'm on page 75. I finish the page and suddenly find myself on page 122.Well, this can't be right! Alas, it was very much the case. "Complete and unabridged" my eye! Let this be a lesson for us all. Bargain basement books should be thoroughly examined before purchased, especially when they're so cheap. The phrase "If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is" was recalled to my mind. Since the hour was so late, there was no chance of me getting another copy that night. So much for instant gratification, but I took solace in the fact that I could get one at Barnes and Noble the following day. But I was mistaken. Neither Barnes and Noble near my home carried an unabridged version, nor did any other major book sellers. I didn't try the minor ones. Well, what a boner! (And not a good one). This meant that even ever-so-slightly-delayed-gratification was out the door as well, and I had to not only resort to making an online purchase, but also alter my reading schedule. I found a place on Amazon that sold it for about $3.50 and offered expedited shipping at $6.99. Good enough for me, let's do it! Then it gave me an estimated arrival date which STARTED a week in the future, and went to over two weeks past that date. I gave up, and let the chips land where they will. I figured they just gave a way-out date to cover their asses in case something went wrong, but no, it took a little over a week. Oh well.I really wanted to read Fauntleroy, and not online (I'm a book purist, sorry), but that was out of the question. So I picked up something I could read quickly in the meantime and completed "The Richest Man in Babylon," but Fauntleroy still hadn't come. Searching for something I assumed would be light and easy, I grabbed the H.P. Lovecraft book of short stories that had
been in my to-read pile for nigh onto two years, and discovered I was mistaken in my assumption that he was light and easy. He is, however, quite enjoyable, and it was short stories so it wouldn't be too hard to finish one, and transition back to Fauntleroy when he eventually showed up. By the way, I love how I can switch from murderous fish people and Arabs who feast on corpses to a story about a boy who is all hugs and love and sappy shit in the blink of an eye. I'm told not everyone has that skill, and I think that's sad. Anyway, when Fauntleroy did arrive, I had just began a 70 page story by Lovecraft, and felt compelled to finish that one first. Let me tell you: 70 pages of Fauntleroy goes at least twice as fast as 70 pages of Lovecraft which I suggest reading with a dictionary, thesaurus, and encyclopedia nearby if you want to get the full picture.Eventually I finished the fish story, then got to Fauntleroy, and now poor Holmes is going to have to wait until I finish the rest of the Lovecraft book. I'm actually having Holmes withdrawal. Oh well.
LITTLE LORD FAUNTLEROY BOOK REVIEW.
This is the second of Burnett's books that I've read, the other being The Secret Garden. I may eventually read The Little Princess, but I'm not sure. Contrary to popular acclaim, I enjoyed this book more than I did Secret Garden. I believe it's because I can relate more to the main character since he's a boy, but I'm not sure about that either. The story in Secret Garden is better, but I still like this one more.It's your basic Burnett kid's tale, really. American boy has a granddaddy in England from whom he and his mother have been estranged for their entire life (daddy died when the boy was young). Granddaddy is a powerful earl, and his other children have passed away, so now the American boy is the legal heir. Granddaddy is a grumpy old cuss, boy is a loveable little thing, and the latter melts the hoary frost on the heart of the former. There's a bit of a dispute about who the real heir is at the end of the book, but it all comes out squeaky clean in typical Burnett story fashion.I don't know why I like some happy sappy things, but not others. It's not my favorite genre of tale, but I have a weak spot for some stories, and this is one of them. In fact, the final chapter is so sickeningly sweet that it should make me want to barf, but it doesn't. It turns out to be a guilty pleasure. Some parts are unrealistic. I've seen some reviews where the critic feels the grandfather softens too quickly, and I can concede that, however I still think it's mostly believable the way it's written. Many also feel that the speech and dialogue has a strong British feel to it, especially for the American characters, and I felt the same way. I could not get the British accent out of my head as I read the American parts. I noticed that as I was reading, but didn't let it detract from my enjoyment of the book.I've read better stories, and I've read better written stories. I've read better character development, but there's just something special with this book. It's mostly Fauntleroy's perspective on the world around him that makes this so enjoyable. He sees the world through the eyes of a seven year old who is trying to be an adult, and it's quite adorable. Some of the other characters are rather silly, but also completely enjoyable. The grandfather is awesome in his orneriness. It's the characters that make this worth reading, not the story itself, or the writing style, though both are good enough in their own rights. There's even a coincidence in this story that would make Charles Dickens wink, nod, give a quarter-smile, and say "Well done, Frances. Well done."So, why five stars when I can see so many shortcomings in it? Because five stars means that I felt "it was amazing," and I believe that was the case for me. I enjoyed every second of it, and couldn't wait to get back to it when I had to put it down. That's the magic of stories. They don't have to be great to be thoroughly enjoyed. I can't explain it, but that's just the way it rolls.
If you feel you would like this book based on my review, then check it out. I loved it....more