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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Boston Curiosities - Ted Clarke

I received this book through the LibraryThing early reviewers program. I initially requested it because Boston is my nearest big city (I love my city dearly, but big it is not), and over the years since I graduated from college, I’ve been down there quite a bit. And even though I don’t live there, I am a native New Englander (pretty far back in the family tree), so its history is my history.

The book touches upon the people, mysteries, places, food and big events of Boston. There are a number of things you’d expect to see (Abigail Adams, Alexander Graham Bell, the Boston Strangler, baked beans), but it also touches upon some people and events that aren’t as commonly known. Thomas Handasyd Perkins is one of those people. He apparently made scads of money on a number of illicit trades, but he used that money for a number of good causes, including founding the school of the blind that Helen Keller attended, so it’s hard to see him as an unsympathetic character.

I also hadn’t realized that marshmallow fluff was a New England invention, though I suppose the fact that my sister introduced it to her friends in California to much awe and wonder should have tipped me off to that.

This was definitely an interesting book, and would be a good companion reader to anyone visiting Boston to the first time, as you visit and gain visuals for a number of the people/events mentioned inside the pages.

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