Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Rogue's Life (1856)

A Rogue's Life. Wilkie Collins. 1856. 159 pages. [Source: Book I bought]

I am going to try if I can't write something about myself. My life has been rather a strange one. It may not seem particularly useful or respectable; but it has been, in some respects, adventurous; and that may give it claims to be read, even in the most prejudiced circles.

 Who is the rogue in Wilkie Collins A Rogue's Life? None other than Frank Softly. He comes from a respectable (though not wealthy) family. He falls OUT of favor with his parents and INTO a good bit of trouble. Debt factoring into this rogue's story quite often. He doesn't really "fit" with any of the "respectable" professions allowed to his class. And I believe his first "profession" is as a caricaturist. He sells his work, has it published, is quite successful using a pseudonym... for a while But. When people match his real identity with his pseudonym...well, that just won't do. That is when his parents make a stand.

A Rogue's Life is a short, pleasant read. It's told in first-person narrative. And the narration is quite lively. His adventures and misadventures are a bit crazy perhaps, making the whole too complex to easily summarize for review. But. It is an easy enough story to follow when you're actually reading it.

Essentially when this 'rogue' falls madly in love--and, of course, it's love AT FIRST SIGHT, with a beautiful yet mysterious young woman, there is NOTHING he won't do to find out who she is...he will woo her no matter what it costs him...

Another 'fun' element (if 'fun' is the right word?) is the speculation involving an inheritance. Frank's sister will inherit a good deal of money from someone (I can't remember who) IF and only IF Frank can outlive the grandmother. So throughout the book, there is all this speculation about the future! The grandmother is very old and determined to live forever, and, of course, Frank's misadventures (including prison time) could lead to his dying young...

It's an odd book in a way. But overall, it was a pleasant way to spend an hour.

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

1 comment:

DesLily said...

I always enjoy your reviews of Wilkie's writings!