Sunday, May 12, 2013

How Sluggo Survives!

1989, first edition, from Kitchen Sink Press
Ernie Bushmiller
How Sluggo Survives!
Bought newish for $7.95
Worn paperback

The focus this time is on Nancy's boyfriend Sluggo.  Why does a seven-year-old (or ten-year-old or whatever she is) have a boyfriend?  Not only that, why do both of them consider themselves engaged to be engaged?  If you find that odd, you'll also wonder why Nancy pressures Sluggo to get a job.  He gets several, the most prominent here as an office boy, to a cranky man with a mustache. 

Sluggo lives in a "slanty shanty" with broken windows, broken furniture, cracked walls, and junk in the yard, so poor that burglars feel sorry for him.  He seems to live alone, although he'll sometimes refer to "we."  Not just in this volume, but in all my Nancy collections, his parents are never mentioned, although he does have a few aunts and uncles who live locally but separately (some quite well off).  As with Nancy's eating disorder, you can't let realism intrude.  Otherwise, Sluggo's survival would be a very serious question.

Sluggo, with his N'Yawk accent, definitely is tough enough to survive, even when menaced by bullies.  He's incredibly confident and as ingenious as Nancy.  Even when things go wrong, he keeps going.  And although he, like Nancy, never gets any older, he imagines that he'll be a great success as an adult, maybe even President.  I guess that's how to survive, by believing that you'll thrive.

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