Belle Prater is gone. No one knows how. No one knows why. She’s just gone, leaving her husband and her boy, Woodrow, in a little cabin in the backwoods.
So Woodrow Prater goes to live with his grandparents in town, and right next door is his cousin, Gypsy Arbutus Leemaster.
Life for Gypsy and Woodrow seems golden and great — despite the mysteries that surround both of them. And someday, their secrets are going to come out.
Gypsy’s secrets…about her dead father.
Woodrow’s secrets…about Belle Prater’s disappearance.
After reading it, (and, speaking as an author) I felt it was the sort of book I would write myself.
I enjoyed the easy, flowing prose, the deep, round characters, and the gentle, but hardly calm, story line. It’s a typical story, with not so typical characters or outcome. The reader’s left guessing details until the last minute — and it’s those details we so desperately want the answers to.
It’s a smooth book, not knuckle whitening or thrilling, but written with depth and understanding. You’ll finish this book, but it will stay on your mind. Personally, I loved the style, the first-person account, the description, and the vibrant characters. The novel is stuffed with different lessons for life, but none are too overpowering, nor overplayed.
Don’t be fooled. Even if Woodrow’s mother has disappeared, he isn’t the only one hurting from past events. Gypsy has secrets she won’t tell either — secrets she won’t let go of…
The eisteddfods came, and I was ready! I had all three pieces memorized and up to go. Of course, of the day I felt a little different. Especially when I stood up on stage with my heart thumping so fast I could hardly steady my breath to tune.
But I did it. Maybe I didn’t get first. Maybe I’ve played my pieces better. But I did it.
So for the first piece I get up there apprehensive, knowing that one of my two competitors had won first for an earlier section, and the other had played the clarinet. Surely she wouldn’t specialize in both flute and clarinet, and it turns out she skipped the section. I was a little relived. It was either first or second now…
The first girl played her piece. It was good. Nothing I think she’d gloat about, compared to her previous performance. So I went and played mine. By memory. And the adjudicator was thrilled. She said it was the first piece by memory for the eisteddfods. So there was a first place trophy in my hand. And I don’t think I stopped beaming until closer to the next section, when the next lot of nerves started to set in.
My last piece had been classical and slow, nice and minor. This one was jazz, fast with a little pizazz. I didn’t play it as well as my first one. But I did it justice. But there was this kid who played the saxophone. He did it pretty well. I think jazz probably suited his style. Anyway, he got first and I got second. A bit disappointing, because I’d really worked hard on Stoker’s Siding.
Now third and lastly came another jazzy piece. Turns out I had the same boy competing, and I thought, “Great. He’ll probably get it now.” He did. Some say the judge was biased. I don’t know. The saxophone boy was pretty good. I, personally, think my piece was probably more complex than his. But what the judge says it what the judge says. And it stays that way.
|Sorry about the quality of this photo. Our photographer left with Xavier who was getting fussy to go home, so we ended up having to get another person to send us the photo–and it didn’t exactly come out great, as you can see.|
So they hand out the trophies for the last section, and there is this trophy for the Most Promising Performer. We all knew it: the saxophone boy was going to get it. Either him or his elder brother who also played the saxophone, or another older girl who was pretty good at the saxophone. The judge obviously like saxophones. So we wait for them to say it…and…it’s me! And I think, “Wow.” I think it was the biggest applause of the afternoon. (It was pretty much the biggest trophy of the afternoon.)
So now I will have my name engraved on the perpetual trophy for the Most Promising Performer that sits in a cabinet in the library. Wow. Who’d have thought, eh?
And thanks, Cait, for accompanying me for two of my pieces. You did great.
I’m sorry to say that the book you are holding in your hands is extremely unpleasant. It tells an unhappy tale about three very unlucky children. Even though they are charming and clever, the Baudelaire siblings lead lives filled with misery and woe. From the very first page of this book when the children are at the beach and receive terrible news, continuing on through the entire story, disaster lurks at their heels. One might say they are magnets for misfortune.
In this short book alone, the three youngsters encounter a greedy and repulsive villain, itchy clothing, a disastrous fire, a plot to steal their fortune, and cold porridge for breakfast.
It is my sad duty to write down these unpleasant tales, but there is nothing stopping you from putting this book down at once and reading something happy, if you prefer that sort of thing.
With all due respect, Lemony Snicket
The meaning of the word “twaddle” is surely exposed here, but surprisingly, I learnt new words when I read this.
I think this book and the whole series are really great, and anyone who wants an unusual read, here’s where you’ll find it!
Review by Mime in August, 2011
Looking for a place to buy or rent?
Invest with TangleTowers Inc.!