Saturday, February 26, 2011

Book Review: The Great Good Thing: A Novel by Roderick Townley

A book where the main character is the main character in a book! At first I thought this was going to turn out to be The Eyre Affair for teens, but alas no.

The book starts out very cute. Sylvie is a 12-year-old princess in a book that hasn't been read for years. But they get a new reader, and life is lively again! But Sylvie's curiousity is piqued - why the different new reader after all this time? And she breaks the biggest rule in her world - she looks up at the reader. And later, she follows the reader... off the page.

The book was really promising. It was a cute, endearing, funny piece of meta-fiction. However, the plot was kind of all over the place. Sylvie's new playmate, Claire, seems to have some problems and need Sylvie's help, but then she grows up and goes away. The book's original reader reappears as she has also grown up and died. She never gets a name which was odd and pointless. The book-within-a-book is lost in a fire, and most of the major characters escaped into Claire's dreams.

The book meanders and wanders here and there. The author had some good ideas, but needed more focus. Perhaps the second book brings all the loose ends together, but one shouldn't need to read the second book for the first to gel. Books should stand on their own, even within a series. I wanted to love it, and while it was pretty adorable, it wasn't the children's meta-fiction brilliance I was hoping for.

This review is a part of Kid Konnection, hosted by Booking Mama, a collection of children's book-related posts over the weekend.

I borrowed this book from a friend.


Julie P. said...

I think the premise sounds kind of confusing...especially for kids. I think there was probably an even bigger need for direction and cohesiveness in this book. Great review!

Jeane said...

I remember giving this one a try, on a friend's recommendation- but either I didn't finish or I completely forgot the ending, because I couldn't recall what happened until I read your review. Not very memorable.