Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker lupinella12: What fictional character helped shape your youth?

Longtime readers will surely be unsurprised at my answer: Beautiful Joe.

Beautiful Joe is based on a true story of an abused and rescued dog, and was written by Marshall Saunders—actually Margaret Marshall Saunders, who entered (and won) a literary contest sponsored by the American Humane and Educational Society under her middle name because female authors weren't getting published. It was first published in 1893; my tattered copy, which I read and reread and reread as a child, is a 1955 edition.

My first memory of really loving a book is loving Beautiful Joe—and it's no exaggeration to say that the book was a significant influence on my life; I owe a great deal of my capacities for empathy and survival to Joe's tale.

You can read it here, if you are so inclined.

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