Surprisingly, being a paedophile is not the fault that most disqualifies Alger from being an author of children’s books; he is also a terrible writer. The story is unbearably preachy and contrived. Its only merits are historical – documenting old time speech patterns and providing a interesting glimpse of a young New York City. I wanted to give it 1/5, but decided to be more generous since some of its failings are simply common characteristics of 19th century literature and it was written for children, after all.
[Why I read it: the rest of my family read it and I had never come across anything by the author, though I recognised his name.]