Lois's Reviews > The Prince and the Pauper

The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain
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's review
May 20, 2012

liked it

This is not the edition I have, but it looked too tricky to trawl through all the options.

I've loved the story of the Prince and the Pauper for a long time. I think I saw I watched a children's adaption on TV a long time ago and became fascinated with the story concept, so much so, that when I picked this up I wondered if I had infact read it before.

I'm not a complete stranger to Twain. I've read Sawyer and Finn as a child, but nothing recently. I picked this up with a great longstanding fondness for the story already in place.

So it disappointed me a little. Partly because it was so short, partly because it was so childlike. I'm guessing it was intended as a children's book, the vocabulary is impressive - but I think children were better readers back in Twain's day, so that would account for the book appearing to be adult-like and coming across with much less depth.

The characters weren't as layered as I had imagined them to be. Miles was all together too perfect - he would have had a whole orphanage of street urchins to care for if he really was so kind! Tom and Edward didn't always seem to use their common sense, particularly Tom, who should have worked out that he could have started to hunt for Edward using his new powers, rather than sit about and wait for him to show up. I did like the edge of dark side that Tom had, and both her and Edward were quite likeable, if not particularly clever. The way the mix-up happened was a little unbelievable. It was a very simplistic adventure romp. I read children's books all the time, so I wonder if my own preconceptions have damaged by opinion of this book, because usually discovering something was written for children doesn't put me off at all.

Having said that, what a brilliant idea! 'Classic' is the kind of word that deserves to be applied here. Some of the language was great, and one thing that struck me (surely a proof that I hadn't, in fact, read it before now)was that Twain used the actual Tudor family. That was intriguing in itself, and definitely a unique perspective on Edward! I consider the Tudors to be some of the most fascinating people in history, and already knowing a fair bit about them really expanded the story for me.

Glad I read it, just wish it had been a bit more substantial - the plot concept would have made it one of my favourite books of all time.


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