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The Story of a Bad Boy

The Story of a Bad Boy by Thomas Bailey Aldrich
By: (1836-1907)

Thomas Bailey Aldrich was a child when his father moved to New Orleans from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. After 10 years, Aldrich was sent back to Portsmouth to prepare for college. This period of his life is partly described in his semi-autobiographical novel The Story of a Bad Boy (1870), in which "Tom Bailey" is the juvenile hero. Critics have said that this novel contains the first realistic depiction of childhood in American fiction and prepared the ground for Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Aldrich went on to associate with many of the literati of his time in New York City, and was editor of the Atlantic Monthly in the 1880's.

His son died of Tuberculosis in Saranac lake, NY, and the family house is now a Bed and Breakfast there. The Aldrich house in Portsmouth is part of the Strawberry Banke Museum in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

First Page:

THE STORY OF A BAD BOY

by Thomas Bailey Aldrich

Chapter One In Which I Introduce Myself

This is the story of a bad boy. Well, not such a very bad, but a pretty bad boy; and I ought to know, for I am, or rather I was, that boy myself.

Lest the title should mislead the reader, I hasten to assure him here that I have no dark confessions to make. I call my story the story of a bad boy, partly to distinguish myself from those faultless young gentlemen who generally figure in narratives of this kind, and partly because I really was not a cherub. I may truthfully say I was an amiable, impulsive lad, blessed with fine digestive powers, and no hypocrite. I didn't want to be an angel and with the angels stand; I didn't think the missionary tracts presented to me by the Rev. Wibird Hawkins were half so nice as Robinson Crusoe; and I didn't send my little pocket money to the natives of the Feejee Islands, but spent it royally in peppermint drops and taffy candy. In short, I was a real human boy, such as you may meet anywhere in New England, and no more like the impossible boy in a storybook than a sound orange is like one that has been sucked dry... Continue reading book >>


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