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Driven from Home; or, Carl Crawford's…
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Driven from Home; or, Carl Crawford's Experience

by Horatio Alger Jr.

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Horatio Alger (1832- 1899) made his reputation through rags- to riches tales of impoverished boys who gained success and financial security through hard work and determination. However, by the late 19th century, his social message had lost its attractions to adolescent boys, through the general decline of the Puritan ethic. Alger's tales changed accordingly, enough so that some public libraries reportedly declined to carry his works.

In Alger's 1889 "Driven from Home," we see themes of criminality, divorce, and financial fraud, although of course the illegal activities were only practiced by villains of the piece. Young Carl Crawford is forced to leave home due to actions of his dishonest step- mother, who has turned Carl's father against him. Through a series of interesting events, he manages to make his way through poverty to a respectable factory position. Uncovering the disreputable history of his step-mother, he manages to save his father from her nefarious schemes to acquire his money for herself and her own son. Given the times, I was interested that divorce was presented as a reasonable solution to a bad marriage.

While this book is far from great literature, I enjoyed it, finding both the plot and the panoply of characters interesting. The book is a period piece, but not without entertainment value. ( )
2 vote danielx | Nov 27, 2014 |
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