Meandering Em's

Passion is books, photography, running and traveling. Also passionate about environmental issues.

A Rags to Riches story

Ragged Dick - Horatio Alger Jr.

This 3 1/2 star children's book is almost unknown today. Horatio Alger, Jr. was a prolific and popular author in the 19th century. He wrote many books in the same formulaic style, which is "poor boy" becomes respectable through hard work. However, this was the first book I read and I quite enjoyed it.


Ragged Dick is an orphan who lives on the streets of New York. He makes money by shining shoes. He sleeps wherever he can. Because he is a hard worker and honest, he begins to attract the attention of several men who buy him better clothes, encourage him to get an education and "better himself." We see the efforts that Ragged Dick makes to rent an apartment, get an education, open a bank account and finally get a good job.


Alger wrote these books to show the condition of the homeless children on the streets of New York. He was trying to get the public to have compassion for these children. He was successful in many ways.


I did not rate the book higher because I thought some of the events were not very probable. The best example was near the end of the book where Dick rescues a boy who fell in the water. It is said that Dick was an excellent swimmer, yet it is not likely that a boy who spent most of his days shining shoes had time to become an excellent swimmer.

Currently reading

The Waiting Years
Fumiko Enchi
Progress: 94/208 pages
Project Puffin: The Improbable Quest to Bring a Beloved Seabird Back to Egg Rock
Derrick Z. Jackson, Stephen W. Kress
Progress: 33/376 pages