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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

National Book Award Finalist From one of our most accomplished and widely admired historians, a revelatory portrait of Benjamin Franklin’s youngest sister and a history of history itself. Like her brother, Jane Franklin was a passionate reader, a gifted writer, and an astonishingly shrewd political commentator. Unlike him, she was a mother of twelve. Benjamin Franklin, who wrote more letters…

Overall Book Review:

Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin was not what I expected. Billed as “a revelatory portrait of Benjamin Franklin’s youngest sister”, I anticipated a stirring and informative biography. Sadly, as author Jill Lepore explains, little is actually known about Jane Franklin Mecom’s life. Lepore does share what bits of information researchers have, which come mostly from letters Mecom kept from her big brother Benjamin. These letters, with their formal tone and inconsistent spelling, are sprinkled throughout the book and give a fascinating viewpoint of Jane, her family and the many trials she faced in her lifetime. Lepore also makes educated guesses about what Jane might have experienced, but much of the book discusses the time period, women’s roles, and Jane’s famous brother. Though Book of Ages has a misleading title, it’s still a well-written and interesting work, especially for Revolutionary War and/or Ben Franklin enthusiasts!


Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  4 mild obscenities; 6 derogatory names.

Violence/Gore:  Several reports of violence involving the Revolutionary War and suicide; a character is beaten; fire destroys buildings (no casualties) and a mob tears down a house (no casualties).

Sex/Nudity: Two sexual references; several implied or reported accounts of sexual activity, including mention of the “intrigues of low women”.  

Mature Subject Matter:

War, death of family members, illness, poverty, debt.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Mention of drinking.

Overall Book Rating
Profanity/Language
Rating:
3
10
Violence/Gore
Rating:
2
10
Sex/Nudity
Rating:
3
10

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About the Reviewer

My mother was the one who sparked my love of books. Long before school instruction, she sat me down and taught me to read. My childhood was filled with trips to the library and bookmobile to find great books. My first loves were The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Pippi Longstocking series by Astrid Lingren. Now as a mom and speech pathologist, I am constantly looking for good, clean books to use at home and in therapy. I enjoy reading many different genres, but my favorites are usually historical fiction. I married my best friend, the “boy next door”, and we have a beautiful little girl who we often find sprawled out on the floor, flipping through picture books. Together our family likes to swim, run and play tennis. Besides reading, I also love to bake, garden and travel.