The Baker’s Tale by Thomas Hauser
When a young Charles Dickens holds an infant in his arms he wonders what her life will be. And thus begins the story of Ruby Spriggs, a destitute child living in abject poverty on the streets of 1830’s London. As we wonder what Mr. Dickens is trying to tell us in his stories, we can find that in reading Ruby’s story.
Ruby and her uncle are thrown a life rope in the form of a simple kindness. Kindnesses paid by strangers are returned in full. Ruby is given an education, her uncle a job. She meets and falls in love with Edwin Chatfield but the machinations that Dickens fought his whole life and then wrote about are manifested in Alexander Murd, owner of coalfields in the Liverpool area. And here we are given a glimpse of a life even more cruel than life in the squalid streets of London. It is the expectation of Alexander Murd that he can have what he wants simply because of who and what he is and kindness doesn’t register in his soul. He sets out to ruin Ruby’s life.
I’m painting a very bleak picture of a book you will say you aren’t interested in reading because it sounds too depressing and heavy. But let me assure you, the story is sewn with the threads of kindnesses paid and the realization should dawn on you very soon that opening our eyes instead of averting them can change the world. I can’t remember when I’ve read a more uplifting book, simply told in a quiet voice that is almost a perfect read for the Christmas season. Good begets good.