Tuesday, October 12, 2010
The Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter
The Hardscrabble siblings are weird. Otto, the eldest, is a mute and has a way with animals. He also has a tendency to go berserk if someone touches his scarf. Lucia, the middle child, talks enough for her and Otto and enjoys a morbid tale. She's been looking for a lost sultan for the past four years. Max is the youngest. He likes to think deep thoughts and has an excellent sense of direction. Animals do not like Max. Their father is an artist, who goes on long excursions doing portraits of dignitaries. Their mother left them five years ago, no one knows why and the Hardscrabble children have given up hope that she's still alive. They have learned to live with the fact that people whisper about them because they are weird and their mother is gone. They lead relatively normal lives, until their father sends them off to London to stay with their aunt. All of a sudden the Hardscrabbles are on an adventure that will change their entire world.
This is Ellen Potter's seventh book; it's funny, witty, and somewhat fast-paced. I have to admit that I'm a little puzzled as to how to explain my reaction to the book. I have to say that in general that I was kind of tepid on the overall book, and yet there were some brilliant little parts. And when I say parts I mean sentences.
For example: "That was how (the Hardscrabbles) found themselves picking their way through the woods, going who knows where, to do who knows what, dressed in pyjamas with lavender hippos on their bums."
Made me laugh for a good thirty seconds straight. I think I'm so wishy-washy about the entire thing because I feel like it's all been done before. It's told in a personal narrative style (which admittedly is done better than most), with little summarizing snippets at the beginning of each chapter (e.g. Chapter 1: In which we meet the Hardscrabbles, unearth a triceratops bone, and begin to like Lucia even more), and the little witticisms. It reminded me a lot of Lemony Snickett, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but overall it all just seemed like it was following the whole criteria for witty middle grade book. Nothing new, just the same of a genre that has been done. Overly done. Saturated.
Anyways, it was fine. There are some funny parts. Kids will probably like it. And if someone wants my rather used copy, please let me know. The Kneebone Boy is already out.
P.S. I'm very excited to say that my next book is going to be Incarceron by Catherine Fisher. I've started it and so far it's AWESOME!