During that time I happened to look on Goodreads (here we go again), not to read the reviews of this, but to see whether I should read The Wind Through the Keyhole. I wanted to know if I should read it in its rightful place between book four and book five or after I’d read the series and I was SHOCKED to find that people were sharply divided over this book.
I purposefully held off reading this edition for over a year because I knew I wanted something special for my 500th book on The Oddness of Moving Things. Tim got me the whole boxed collection of Austen’s works in December of 2015. I didn’t think it would take quite this long to get to, but with my whirlwind year at my previous job I’m not really surprised at this point. I’m reading again and I’m glad I saved this one for my 500th book!
I know others in the book blogosphere have reviewed this collection of Austen’s juvenilia and they’ve probably done it better. I’m a bit blinded by Austen because I’m such a fan boy (read this or just click here if you don’t believe me – or if you haven’t been around a while). I’m going to talk a bit about this work and the collection and then I’m going to have a brief bitch session about the physical book itself so fair warning.
I first encountered Joe Meno way back in 2011 when I read The Boy Detective Fails, which was a wonderfully quirky story. That following October at the 2011 Boston Book Festival I picked up this novel and it’s taken me almost four years to get to it. I’d love to say it was worth the wait, but I’m not really sure and that had very little to do with Meno’s writing or storytelling (Amazon Affiliate link).
This was by far one of the worst copy edited books I’ve ever read. I found a mistake about halfway through (see photo at the end) and then I found them on every two-to-three pages after that. They weren’t even minor comma mistakes, which I’d miss, they were WHOLE WORDS MISSING FROM SENTENCES!
Let’s start this review on a high note. It is rare that a book makes me fall in love with a character, and Francie is one of those few characters. The character was perfectly written and there was something about her that just made me fall in love. From her book obsession to her fierce pride and quick wit – Francie captured my heart and imagination. Even at the end when she started into her teen years and came across as somewhat hostile she kept her innocence and I just wanted to give her a hug.
There is a quote by the Federico Fellini that I believe Francie embodies, “Put yourself into life and never lose your openness, your childish enthusiasm throughout the journey that life is and things will come your way.” (Full disclosure – I found this quote via the film Under the Tuscan Sun.) Definitely check out the quotes at the end to get an idea of her character.
Yesterday I wrote about reading my first Advance Reader’s Copy of a novel and promised the review and here it is. As mentioned yesterday, this is an advance copy provided by the publisher and I did not receive compensation to review this novel. The views and opinions in this post are my own.
It’s hard to know where to begin, thus yesterday’s post, but I’ll just delve right in. As with most of the novels I read I’ve only selected a few things to focus on for this post.
Overall, I thought the novel was interesting and well written. Judith, raised by her religious father, is a 10-year old living in England and is facing what she believes (and her religion often believes at various intervals) is the end times. Told from Judith’s point of view the story did have some issues occasionally, but this worked well for most of the novel. Her language, and even her emotional reactions/descriptions, often times switched into what I felt was an older child. Although described as quick and advanced for her age and not having habits like most children, I can see why Judith’s voice would come across older, but sometimes it was just too much of a stretch (and not like she was mimicking adults, but almost like her voice was lost in the writer’s voice).
First, I want to share that this book is staying on my shelf to re-read again and again. Emma Donoghue recommended Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha at her book reading back in May and I randomly found a copy at the Goodwill in Maine and purchased it. And I am glad for both of these!
Second, the more books I read featuring young protagonists the more I wonder if I’m interested in just coming of age or if it’s the portrayal of youth and childish innocence. Does it stem from my own childish wonderment at the world? I have a paradoxical sense of both childish wonderment and aged skepticism.
It is the story of 10-year-old Patrick Clarke. He’s growing up with a younger brother and two younger sisters, his best friend is Kevin and they have a gang of friends that explore the neighborhood and cause as much trouble as 10-year-old boys cause.
This is the story of Billy Argos, the boy detective. The way the book is put together is fascinating and reminded me a lot of Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. The chapters start at 31 and there are random pages with word formations or small paragraphs which was a bit annoying, but it added to the quirkiness of the book. Perhaps the most intriguing/annoying thing was the hidden message along the bottom of the pages. I of course had to figure it out because it was driving me nuts. The coded message is after the jump, but I didn’t decode it and left out a bit so you have to read the book yourself to find out. I did follow the instructions and we’ll see what happens. Update: After having emailed the address and then googling the email address I found they no longer respond 😦 Apparently you received another coded email and if you broke that code some stickers.