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Luke Walton

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or, The Chicago Newsboy


(1889)


"A well-behaved heathen is better than a Christian such as you are," Luke Walton tells an uncouth hoodlum who had broken out the window of a Chinese laundry. This was a revolutionary sentiment for Victorian America, but trust Horatio Alger to slay a few sacred cows in each volume of his novels. Set in the city of Chicago, with forays into nearby Milwaukee, "Luke Walton" is still pure Alger, even without the New York City backdrop. Luke supports his widowed mother and frail younger brother, peddles papers on a busy street corner, and assists an elderly lady in danger on the street. One of the most interesting characters is Warner Powell, a former scapegrace whose reformation is complete and startling. His wealthy aunt's shrewd evaluation of her nephew's potential moves Warner ahead of his grasping sister and weak-willed snob of a nephew. "Luke Walton," not to be confused with Luke Larkin, another of Alger's youthful heroes, is as satisfying as a breakfast of beefsteak and biscuit.--Submitted by Robert Cox

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