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The Actual & Truthful Adentures of Becky Thatcher

Review

The Actual & Truthful Adentures of Becky Thatcher

written by Jessica Lawson, illustrated by Iacopo Bruno
Mark Twain fans are familiar with Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn and Becky Thatcher, but those stories are from either Tom’s or Huck’s point of view. Now, author Jessica Lawson tells us the “real story” --- that of Becky Thatcher, told from her point of view. Is it possible that Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain, got his story ideas from a spunky little gal named Becky Thatcher? If we can believe this “actual and truthful” account of Becky Thatcher’s adventures, then we have to believe this is true.
 
Lawson weaves a delightful tale of mystery and mischief with Becky Thatcher as the main character. When Becky sneaks out of her house one night, she spies on some men sitting on the river bank. She later learns that two of them are outlaws, the Pritchard brothers. Unwittingly, she gets caught up in a plot to steal gold. She comes up with a way to divert suspicion from the main suspect and actually catch the bandits. But, in the process, Becky risks life and limb to solve a mystery and save a friend.
 
A delightful tale of mystery and mischief.
In the meantime, she has to deal with the fact that she is new in town. She and her parents have just moved to Petersburg, Missouri. Becky has no friends in her new town, but she immediately avoids Tom Sawyer as he is nothing but a tattletale. Tom and his half-brother, Sid, live with their Aunt Polly. Becky paints Tom as a do-gooder tattletale who is trying to win points with his Aunt Polly. Becky becomes friends with Sid and a girl named Amy Lawrence.
 
Sam Clemens is a character in the book, a riverboat captain, who wants to be a fiction writer. Mr. Clemens is in town for a short time because his riverboat is stranded --- he is just waiting for a new part before he can return on his journey. In the meantime, he meets Becky and her friends. Supposedly, they supply him with fodder for his writing. In that light, this story could be called a “prequel” to the Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn stories written by Mark Twain.
 
Lawson writes in a style that is very much like that of Mark Twain. By the end of the book, she’ll have you believing her version of the story is the “actual and truthful” one.

Reviewed by Christine Irvin on July 7, 2014

The Actual & Truthful Adentures of Becky Thatcher
written by Jessica Lawson, illustrated by Iacopo Bruno

  • Publication Date: July 1, 2014
  • Genres: Children's
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 1481401505
  • ISBN-13: 9781481401500