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A Pickpocket's Tale Paperback – 1 Jan 2008
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About the Author
Karen Schwabach is a professor of teacher education at Salem College, the oldest women's college in the U.S. She also spent eight years in Alaska teaching English as a second language. The author lives in Winston-Salem. NC.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Being a linguistics fan, I think my favorite feature might have been Schwabach's clever use of Flash-cant, the dialect and vocabulary spoken by the London thieves of the era. It added real color and delight, and for me the glossary at the back was almost as much fun to read as the story itself.
I really like Molly. I like how she adjusts to life in London the only way she knows how, I like how she does have scruples, even if she does steal for her living, and I love that she feels real to me. I think that her confusion and terror upon being sent to America are palpable, but my problem with the book really begins once she's in America.
I find the misunderstandings between Molly and the Bells' to be realistic, but at the same time I just want to shake them all. Of course Molly is going to want to hold on to some of her clothing from her London life! Of course she doesn't know how to sweep! I mean, really! They know she was arrested, yet no one bothers to talk to her about that part of her life. In fact, the Bells don't really want to know anything about her past life, they just want to tell her how to live it from here on out! And while I do understand that, on another level I wanted to see that there really is room for understanding between the differing social classes.
In my head I realize that Schwabach is probably being more historically accurate than I want her to be. I just felt there was room for so much more development in this story! There is room between: Mr.& Mrs. Bell, Mrs. Bell & Molly, Mrs. Bell & Arabella, Arabella & Molly, Molly & David, David & Mr. Bell and the list could go on! I guess my problem is that I just wanted more from these characters. I liked them all, I like the setting, I just wanted more. And the ending! Gasp! I hated where it ended. It was just too unsettling. I knew what was going to happen, but again, it falls back to my repeated mantra in this post: I wanted more.
And so as not to be completely evil in this review, I loved the language in the book. I love how Schwabach uses Flash-cant, tells you she's going to use it before the story even begins, then includes a glossary. It's part of what made me want more!
Notes on the Cover:
The cover is a major part of my intrigue with this title in the first place. I love the gentlemen with Molly peering around as she's lifting the watch. I love that it looks like a scene you would see in London at the time the story is set.