As I read Crippled Jack, I told one of my friends it was written for those whose strongest memory of One Hundred Years of Solitude was the banana workers’ strike. The two books, however, have little in common. Crippled Jack is a western, as gritty as a summer on the plains, with hardly a taste of magic in it. Rather than spanning generations of a family, it focuses tightly on a boy left for dead by his parents and his desperate struggle to survive.
Though the book is focused, it still has a strong thematic coloring. Every chapter is a reminder of the abuses of the capitalism of the late 1800s. Men with money and power ruled even the west, and they often used their power for their own ends, rather than for the good of others.
It’s a message that still resonates strongly today. It will be a useful reminder in any age.
Crippled Jack is not an easy read, both due to subject matter and to the author’s writing style, which will not suit everyone. It took me a few chapters to really settle into it, but once I had, I found that this was a book I simply could not put down.
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