Sheldon’s In His Steps

(I’m reading this for school. It’s one of the dumbest books in existence, which seems to be a trend with the books Mr. North assigns. Looking Backward?)

In the novel In His Steps, written by Charles Sheldon, almost everyone has a lack of common sense, but perhaps the dumbest of the characters is a wealthy girl named Virginia. Why? She donates the huge amount of $500,000 to a dying newspaper, without knowing the business plan to save it.

Virginia is one of the main characters in this outrageously and economically stupid novel, and is very, very wealthy. As a member of the First Church of Raymond, she, along with a few others, took a pledge to ask themselves “what would Jesus do?” before making any decisions.

Edward Norman, editor of the Daily News, did the same. After making that promise, he decided that he didn’t think Jesus would run any of the stories people actually cared about: prize fights (boxing), scandals, etc. He also stopped letting people advertise alcohol and tobacco in his paper. Needless to say, he couldn’t have made a bigger mistake. When you stop publishing what people want to read, you lose your subscribers. This is exactly what one of the Daily News reporters predicted, and it’s what happened.

So, Norman tells his fellow pledge-takers, among them Miss Virginia, that he has a plan to revive the Daily News (which turns out to be no different than what he was already doing).  He does say that it will have to run on donations. Before he reveals his plan, Virginia offers up the large amount of half a million dollars. In today’s money, that would equal a few million. She had no idea if the paper would be saved. She just gave him the money. The girl has no common sense, which seems to be a trend in the novel. The characters that do know how to think are made out to be evil of sorts. Sheldon should have thought. The author was stupid, the characters can’t think things through, and the whole entire book is dumb.

Even if she was exceptionally wealthy, Virginia shouldn’t have given away so much of her money. If you’re going to donate that much money, you should know whether or not it’s going to something that will work.

Somehow, however, and we’re not told how, the newspaper does get back on its feet. Norman didn’t change anything, but he got subscribers and the Daily News is back in business, even though it’s running stories that no one wants to read. Sheldon expects his readers to be idiots that believe that Norman’s “plan” worked.

In Sheldon’s pointless novel, In His Steps, one particularly idiotic character, Virginia, donates half a million dollars to a dying newspaper. Before doing this, she needed to know the plan to save the paper. However, she’s too stupid to think about this stuff. If you offer up a large sum of money to a dying company, make sure to study the business plan.

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