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A Difficult Boy

M. P. Barker

150 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0823420868 / ISBN 13: 9780823420865
Published by Holiday House
Used Condition: Very Good Hardcover
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About this Item

Signed by author on title page. No significant wear aside from the lightest of rubbing to jacket edges. Full numberline. 04/15/08. Bookseller Inventory # mon0000048893

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Bibliographic Details

Title: A Difficult Boy

Publisher: Holiday House

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Very Good

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

Riveting historical fiction from a debut novelist about the friendship that grows between two young indentured servants, one of them Irish, as they struggle to survive their harsh master in nineteenth century New England. It is 1839, Nine-year-old Ethan does not want to work for Mr. Lyman, the wealthy shopkeeper in their small Massachusetts' town. But Ethan has no choice--it is the only way to pay off his family's debt to the man. Ethan tries to befriend the Lymans' other indentured servant, but Daniel, as everyone says, is a difficult boy. Sixteen years old, Irish, and moody, Daniel brushes off Ethan as if he were a pesky gnat. Ethan resolves to ignore the brusque older boy, but is then shocked to see how cruelly Mr. Lyman's blows, and the two boys have only each other. Will Ethan be able to save his friend? And will others finally have the courage to do what is right for this not-so-difficult boy?

From the Author:

Writing A Difficult Boy allowed me to combine my childhood dreams of becoming a novelist and owning a horse with my grown-up jobs as an archivist and historian. Although I never did get that dream horse, I got to invent one in Ivy, the mare that the boys in the story take care of.

In the 1990s, I did a stint as a costumed historical interpreter at Old Sturbridge Village, where I got to time-travel on a daily basis to 1830s New England. You can do all the research you want, but there's nothing like sitting with your face against a muddy cow's belly and getting slapped upside the head with a manure-soaked tail to give your story that "been-there-done-that" feeling.

After Sturbridge, I became an archivist at the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum, where I get paid to snoop through old diaries, letters and personal papers.

Turning that information into historical fiction was an adventure and a challenge. I wanted to create characters that readers could identify with, while allowing them to see that those characters aren't merely modern people wearing funny clothes and living without indoor plumbing. Daniel's and Ethan's thoughts and beliefs are very different from ours, yet they grapple with familiar problems: prejudice, abuse, poverty, grief, and loneliness. And they cherish the same things that matter to kids and adults today: loyalty, kindness, trust and most of all, friendship.

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