Friday, 17 January 2014

Little Lord Fauntelroy by Frances Hodgson

Little Lord Fauntleroy is a classic and is well worth reading. At first it might seem a bit 'old fashioned' or maybe even 'dull' but it does get a lot better and it is worth persevering for the ending.

An American boy wakes up one morning and finds out he's an English earl. This comes as a shock because he spends every morning talking to a grocery shop owner who hates earls and England. His grandfather, who hates all American's, finally sends for him to come to England when both of his older sons die leaving Cedric the rightful heir. At first the old earl tries to spoil Little Lord Fauntleroy but he soon discovers that it isn't possible. Not only is Little Lord Fauntleroy the only person to have ever loved the earl but the earl finds himself loving the little boy back. Slowly his heart begins to warm up and all the little things he does for everyone at Cedric's request become things he enjoys and
things he thinks of himself.

When I read this book I was struck at Little Lord Fauntleroy's innocence and love. He was spoilt and petted but that didn't ruin him, he still remembered his mother and the other people around him. He never seems to be cross, or tried, or want his own way, even when his mother is taken away from him and he is forced to live with his grumpy grandfather he doesn't notice but instead looks up to the old man as a father.

One thing that irritated me about this book is that Cedric is so extraordinarily good. He is a perfect child, never getting cross or throwing tantrums, loving everyone he meets. The same sort of character is portrayed in many of the old classics although perhaps not as dramatically. For example Pollyanna, even though she does get into trouble occasionally it's never really her fault, she is usually trying to help someone else. This character can be annoying because 7 year olds aren't usually going to turn down a whole nursery full of toys and give to the poor instead etc.

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