Friday, January 28, 2011
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
This was a Kindle freebie, and it got a high rating, so since I like history and it was a fairly short book, I thought I'd give it a go.
The book starts out talking about his childhood, his parents and siblings. He talks about his schoolings and his interest in going off to sea. Pretty interesting stuff actually. Then it moves to his adolescent years and his early adult life where he had several trades one of them working with his older brother at a newspaper. Still, I was invested in the story.
In the middle of the book, it picks up by saying he hasn't written for many years, and he was picking it back up. OK, this is when the rambling starts. He speaks of the most dis-interesting stuff, Parlament, War, Old farty people he met. Perhaps this was what his life turned into as he grew into a mature man, and I'm sure the War part could have been made to read more interesting, but the 2nd half of this book was just not. It nearly put me to sleep.
Do I really care what laws the Quaker's passed?
Do I care how the mast of a particular boat you were saling on did or did not do its job?
Oh and the lists...he started making lists in the middle of his autobiography. A recipie, a list for what the horses need...really...why do I care?
I was able to get past the awkward spelling of things. I'm used to the British spelling of a lot of words, but when wagon becomes waggon and job becomes jobb, it gets a little annoying. Oh and the lack of -ed in favor of -'d. Words such as completed became complet'd, very annoying. Also, I'm not sure if these were typographical errors or if this is what he actually wrote, but there were a lot of words that were clearly mispelled...chuse as opposed to choose? I had to read the sentence again to make sure that was the proper word. I even used the Kindle dictionary, and no definition came up. OK, I'm not the best speller, but I'm not a founding father either.
I give the 1st half of this book 4 1/2 stars. I give the 2nd half 2 1/2 stars. I cared in the beginning, but not so much at the end.
The book ended with him and his son arriving in London on July 27, 1757. The last part of the book is a letter that Franklin wrote in the last year of his life to someone or another about something I could care less about.
So I suppose I give the whole book a 3 star rating. Lots of good and interesting history, but I think for someone as brilliant as Franklin, it could have been made to read as such.