Thursday, May 15, 2014

Paperback 774: Strive and Succeed / Horatio Alger (Value Book 102)

Paperback 774: Value Books 102 (1st ptg, 1955)

Title: Strive and Succeed
Author: Horatio Alger
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $12


Best things about this cover:

  • Strive and succeed at beating the shit out of other boys.
  • "Yeah, I took your tie. Whaddya gonna do about it, punk?!"
  • This must be the part where the boy grabs his bootstraps and pulls himself up. Otherwise, it just looks like some rich, entitled fuck is picky on the poor drunk kid.


Best things about this back cover:

  • That name again: HORATIO ALGER!
  • Aw, man, for a split-second I read that as "stories … of hard-on success," and I was intrigued.
  • I once read a book about a "supposedly worthless mine." It was called "The Luminaries." I wish I had read this one instead, for many reasons, not least of which is its reasonable 184-page length.

Page 123~

The two boys started for the school, and arrived nearly half an hour early. They entered the house, and, by means of a stout cord, soon secured the hen to the "master's" chair.

It's a heart-warming tale of honesty, thrift, perseverance and poultry pranks.


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Patrick Murtha said...

I had this whole set as a kid, except for "The Young Adventurer," and I loved 'em all; my favorite was "Making His Way." Today, I still think they are very fun reads. The homo-social side of the books is noticeable - lots of close male friendships, such as the one in "Making His Way" between the wealthy heir and the scholarship boy - although, to be fair, it's a common theme in all boys' books. For example, in the Hardy Boys adventure "The Melted Coins" (1944), there is an unforgettable scene involving Joe Hardy and a pirate:

...Blackbeard was strong and powerful.

"I'll tattoo you if it's the last thing I do!..."

...Joe tried to shout, but the pirate's heavy hand was across his mouth, stifling any outcry...In a few minutes he was bound, gagged, and thrust onto a table.

"Get the needle, Lopez!" ordered Blackbeard.

...The pirate, his heavy arms folded, looked at Joe with a satisfied air. Then he reached down and ripped open the boy's shirt.

"Give me the needle, Lopez!" he shouted.

Joe was utterly helpless, yet he struggled grimly against the ropes that bound him. Lopez stood by, handed Blackbeard a long, sharp needle in a holder. Joe felt a stab of pain as the tattoo artist crouched over him and the needle pricked the skin on his chest.

"You'll get a design you maybe never heard of before," grunted Blackbeard. "First, I prick the design. Then comes the dye."

The sharp needle stabbed Joe's skin once more....

"The mark will stay with you for life," cried the pirate.

[lrf] said...

I remember reading a biography of Alger a few years ago. Apparently he had a very sincere interest in teenaged boys.