Mickey’s mother died not too long before this story begins. Before she died, Mickey’s mum made sure her boy had all the tools necessary to live as respectably as he could despite being terribly lacking in funds and having to scramble to make a living in the streets of Metropolis as a newsboy. He’d never known much about his father except that he had been a drunk and his mother wasn’t too sad when he was no longer around. Once his mum was gone, Mickey was on his own.
Have you ever read any of Gene Stratton Porter’s books? She is one of my top favorite authors of all time. I’ve read nearly all of her books and loved each and every one. The stories, the writing styles, the themes. All of it. I stumbled upon this particular one amongst my boyfriend’s family’s books and knew I had to read it immediately!
An introductory synopsis is below and then my ending thoughts are at the bottom.
But unlike the other newsies, Mickey knew how to be clean and tidy and, truth being told, he liked selling papers. He managed to make enough to pay rent, eat, and put a bit by for savings. Really, he was doing rather well for himself.
Then he met Peaches.
Poor little mite! Not able to walk, her granny just dead and terrified to death of being taken to the dreaded “Orphings Home.” What could Mickey do?
Well. She’s much better than the dog he’d been planning to get. And after his mother worked so hard to make sure he’d never be taken to the “Orphings Home,” it hardly seemed right to let this wisp of a girl be taken there too.
He took his Lily Peaches home. Washed her, fed her, gave her his bed and made her his family.
But now he’s got a sick little girl to care for and he doesn’t hardly know where to start. So, after praying for a bit of help and having a couple adventures, our chap finds the Sunshine Nurse Lady who tells him exactly what he needs to do to take care of his “flowersy” girl.
Oh it’s just a lovely, cozy, darling story! I gobbled it up in less than a week. It’s got a smidge of romance, hints of scandal, sorrow, heartbreak, tragedy, fun, birds and singing and nature.
Despite being half set in a rushing, milling enormous city, Gene Stratton Porter still manages to weave her siren song of nature throughout the book. The birds and their songs, the flowers of unspeakable beauty, and most of all, the healing, cleansing goodness of clean country living.
More than ever, her descriptions of the farmhouse and farm life make me want to live in a cozy cottage where I can bake bread and keep house for my future husband and children. Stories like this, full of those old-fashioned values, make me desire to more closely personify the strength, elegance, and dignity of the ladies so beautifully portrayed.
I come away from reading older books written during this time period feeling refreshed and ready to push on and do better. To be kinder and gentler and more thoroughly feminine than ever! To grow and become the type of woman I would want my future daughters to be.