John's Reviews > The Prince and the Pauper
The Prince and the Pauper
by Mark Twain
by Mark Twain
Apr 19, 11
Read from April 15 to 20, 2011
There have been countless imitations and adaptations, but none of them live up to this, the original. Though ostensibly for children (if you happen to know any brilliant children who like to read violent old historical novels written in Shakespearean English), the ideas that drive the narrative are very grown-up. The only thing that really seems to distinguish it as a "children's tale" is the fact that it's not very realistic. Both the prince and the pauper's speech is far more elevated than any kid could ever hope to achieve, but they seem incapable of making any sensible attempt (until the very end) to switch back into their original roles. Characters always seem to show up at the perfect crucial moment, and the ending ties everything up just a little too neatly. The scene where the prince and the pauper actually switch places is fairly awful and makes almost no sense whatsoever. Even the Mickey Mouse version of this story handled that scene more effectively. But, on the whole, this is one charming, thoughtful novel. It's not perfect, but the bright spots far, far outweigh the few unconvincing moments.
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