The Memoirs of George Sperryhawke
An award winner of the NYC Big Book Award in 2018, Austin Smith’s The Memoirs of George Sperryhawke is sure to intrigue any reader. Set in 18th Century America, an older George Sperryhawke decides to write his memoirs for others to read and, presumably, from which to learn. His story starts out with a young Sperryhawke living in an impoverished home to a drunkard of a father and a weakling of a mother, neither of whom had the means or rational decisions to provide for their family. Always a lover of the finer things and the wish to become a gentleman, Sperryhawke left his family in search of his goal. He ran into some bad luck in a candle factory but then was then taken in by a wealthy lady who saw to it that he received a proper education and eventually went on to college to study ministerial duties. Sperryhawke always had a unique way of viewing each situation in his favor and then manipulating the circumstances to cover his tracks. After some mishaps in parochial college, he ventured toward the life of a seaman, and after more “divine intervention,” as Sperryhawke would say, continued living on the sea as the chaplain. By the end of his adventures at sea, more “divine intervention” took place for him to end up with his own tea trading company, complete with a worker. By the age of twenty-five, Sperryhawke had reached his goal of becoming a gentleman and enjoying the finer things in life and had become one of the wealthiest men in the thirteen colonies.
The Memoirs of George Sperryhawke is a quick and enjoyable read. Written as a satire, the story still gave the illusion that I was learning some history, at least in the manner of speech, social attire, and behavior. A couple times in the text, the characters would get on tangents about a certain subject, which made for a rather long chapter because only that one topic was being discussed the majority of the time. I would have to guess though, that maybe that goes with the genre of writing or the time period in which the story is set. Even with Sperryhawke’s clearly faulty way of thinking through matters, I found the story and situations humorous and that it could potentially relate to many people. If there would be a sequel to this story, as in a continuation of his memoirs after the point in his life in which he stopped writing, I would be very interested to read of his further adventures, as I am sure he embarked on many.
|Page Count||197 pages|
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