I was fortunate to receive an advanced copy of the The Kneebone Boy (Feiwel & Friends, 2010) from author Ellen Potter a few weeks back. I had only read the first two pages when I closed the cover and decided to read the book later. I like to classify books like food; some are light snacks or junk food (not very filling but highly addicting), some are meals that you get through and aren’t very memorable (think Hamburger Helper), and some are like fine meals that must be savored. I knew from the first two pages that this was a book to be savored and in the middle of the hustle and bustle of summer vacation I wouldn’t be able to give the book its proper respect. I am glad I waited.
Here is the synopsis:
Life in a small town can be pretty boring when everyone avoids you like the plague. But after their father unwittingly sends them to stay with an aunt who’s away on holiday, the Hardscrabble children take off on an adventure that begins in the seedy streets of London and ends in a peculiar seaside village where legend has it a monstrous creature lives who is half boy and half animal…
Here are my thoughts:
- I really enjoy Ellen’s writing style. Her word usage and language are both intriguing and beautiful especially while dealing with dark and gritty topics, this is what makes the book a something to be savored.
- I was charmed by her characters. We get a sense of the overwhelmed single father, the quirky aunt, and the Viking-like taxidermist Saint George in addition to the other characters. The Hardscrabble children themselves are outcasts but they don’t lose their heart or charm even when they bicker among themselves.
- I was intrigued by the plot. Where was their mother? Who was the author of the story? What was the secret that Aunt Haddie was keeping? Why does Otto always wear the black scarf? Was there truly a Kneebone boy? I must say that I was tempted to peek at the back of the book to find out but I was glad that I waited for the answers.
I am happy to say that The Kneebone Boy received a starred review, I think it was well deserved.
This story is not for everyone. If you are looking for puppies, flowers and Unicorns I would suggest you look elsewhere. If you are looking for a dark and compelling novel in the style of Dahl or Snicket The Kneebone Boy is just right for you.
Writing on the Sidewalk