Reviewed by Ginger Robinson
The Confessions of Becky Sharp
by David James
Rebecca Sharp was an intelligent, defiant, young girl who was estranged by her parent for their own singular lives and left to the care of a lady she mistakenly believed was her maternal grandmother.
Deception, scandal, misplaced love and enough humor to make you laugh out loud are in the story of Becky Sharp’s life. David James begins this tale set in the 1800’s with a lady hard on her luck, broke and owing too many creditors. Ms. Sharp is approached by writers tell her life story. Since she hobnobs with the rich and on occasion has been well to do herself, it has been stated to her by Charles Dickens and one of his friends that her life should go in either book or serial short story form.
When Ms. Sharp hears this, she desires to tell the stories from her past so they will reveal men’s scandals. Of course these are the very things she knows they want kept hidden. Unscrupulously she states her ideas to publishers and writes without changing names or dates and is offended when she gets turned down left and right.
Ms. Sharp has incurred several bills, including having where she stays with her assistant/friend to be threatened. Finally she is approached by a young publisher who pays her bills and asks for her unadulterated biography.
David James does a fabulous job of bringing Becky Sharp’s story to life. She is both absolutely detestable and endearing all in the same. He pulls you into her tumultuous and humorous past. This heartbreaking past also gives insight into what has led this woman into such a selfish and irresponsible lifestyle. Becky Sharp is by no means ignorant nor uneducated. She knows how to use her talents to extrapolate what she wants from certain situations. At one point she doesn’t even use her native language so that others will be comfortable around her. Her wants give her the full appearance of being vain, self serving and self destructive because none of these behaviors led to her greater good. At one point she even tells the publisher when she found herself pregnant by her husband she learned to ride a horse in hopes that she would fall and the baby would die.
James takes the reader by the hand with Becky Sharp to have compassion for her and sometimes even like her and see her as someone they could possibly befriend. Later she is seen as someone to watch out for and keep away from. When getting interviewed for her story, she leaves out certain “truths” that would incriminate her yet childishly states that no one else involved should stop her story and it must be told.
The Confessions of Becky Sharp was craftily written. I felt as though I was in the 1800’s. The speech took some getting used to, but led to feel of the century. This book was about a woman; her greed and manipulative nature. I don’t believe it could have been told any better. Mr. James reached into her heart and emotions to relay exactly who she was and why she chose to be so.
David James has expertly written this book leaving no stone unearthed for the reader. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
About the reviewer: Ginger Robinson writes and lives in Texas with her husband and children. She loves to read, write and be published.