Being a Boy (1877) by Charles Dudley Warner is a truly delightful look at a year in the life of a New England farm boy. Trials, tribulations, wonders. His first boy-girl party, the shame of his first lie. Observations on old men and pumpkin pie. All these and much more are in this classic old book.
Charles Dudley Warner (1829-1900) was an American editor, essayist, and novelist. He had been around the block as a railroad man and a lawyer before turning to editing and writing.
Warner’s talents were keen observation, “quiet humor and mellow grace.” Both of the two old books1,2 I referred to likened him to Washington Irving, whose biography he wrote for The American Men of Letters series (1896; he also was an editor of that series). His first novel, The Gilded Age was co-authored with Clemens. This is the work for which he is know today, but he was exceptionally popular in his time.
1The Reader’s Encyclopedia of American Literature (1962)
2The Oxford Companion to American Literature (1941)
In the final chapter of Being a Boy, Warner finds himself in “a little church much frequented by the common people” of Genoa. Frankly, if you sit down and begin at the beginning, this chapter is a bit jarring. But as a stand alone story, it’s lovely. Hope you enjoy.