Ragged Dick, Or, Street Life in New York with the Boot-blacks

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Penguin Books, 1990 - Boys - 186 pages
4 Reviews
Ragged Dick is a 14 year old bootblack, he smokes, drinks occasionally, and sleeps on the streets, but he is anxious 'to turn over a new leaf, and try to grow up ''spectable''. He won't steal under any circumstances, and many gentlemen who are impressed with this virtue (and his determination to succeed) offer their aid. Mr. Greyson, for example, invites him to church and Mr. Whitney gives him five dollars for performing a service. Dick uses the money to open a bank account and to rent his first apartment.

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User Review  - CatherineHsu - LibraryThing

I actually read this when I was in elementary school, and I love it even now! It's funny, engaging, and inspiring, as it follows the story of Dick Hunter from his position as a lowly bootblack to an honorable member of society. One of my favorite childhood stories :) Read full review

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User Review  - AliceAnna - LibraryThing

OK. He had me until the end. This previously homeless kid is an expert swimmer? Seriously? Where did he learn? Where did he swim? Who taught him? I know it's just some silly adolescent book that is ... Read full review

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About the author (1990)

Horatio Alger, Jr. was born in Chelsea, Massachusetts in 1832, the son of a Unitarian minister. He received a strict upbringing and was educated for a life in the church, graduating from Harvard in 1852.

After leaving Harvard, Alger, to his father's disappointment, took a job as a historian in Middlesex County, Massachusetts and later worked as a teacher at a boys' boarding school in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. He traveled in Europe for a year, and then returned to the United States in 1857 to complete his studies at the Cambridge Divinity School.

In 1864 Alger was ordained a minister at the First Parish Unitarian Church of Brewster on Cape Cod. Sixteen months later, however, he was dismissed from the pulpit after being accused of engaging in homosexual relations with two boys. After his dismissal, Alger began to focus on his writing career, which spanned more than three decades and 110 books. He wrote mainly children's books about boys and girls who rise from rags to riches through hard work and faith in the American dream. His first major success came with the publication of his eighth novel, Ragged Dick in 1868. Other popular novels include Luck and Pluck (1869), Tattered Tom (1871), and Strive and Succeed (1872). Alger also wrote several adult novels, including A Fancy of Her's (first publihsed as The New Schoolma'am in 1877) and The Disagreeable Woman (1895).

Alger, who never married, spent the last decades of his life living at his family home in South Natick, Massachusetts, where he died in 1899.

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