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Posted March 11, 2010
All books should be this good
One of my favorite novels of the year so far, this supremely entertaining story from the British writer Geraldine McCaughrean, tells the tale of Pepper Roux, fated to die on his 14th birthday. Determined to outrun fate, Pepper leaves home and embarks on a series of hilarious misadventures. This would make a great classroom or family read-aloud. If the author were American, I would say this should be on everybody's Newbery shortlist.
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Posted January 11, 2010
At first I had no idea what to make of this book. I suppose given the cover art and title, I was expecting a story of daring escapades in which a boy who thought he was supposed to already have died was completely fearless in the face of danger, leading a crew of misfit sailors into certain death scenarios and coming out completely unscathed. It took me a while to adjust to the fact that, in reality, it's nothing like that at all, but is more of a dark comedy about a clever but unassuming boy who runs from death directly into the arms of various strangers who are not necessarily the best type of people to be surrounded by.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
The story generally assumes that most people Pepper encounters are going to try to take advantage of him in some way, or, at the very least, completely misinterpret everything about him. However, if you pull yourself out of the narrative for a moment and recalibrate what you're expecting, the tale of young Pepper is actually pretty funny, especially all of the little narrator intrusions that Geraldine adds throughout the story. My favorite is a little jab at editors mentioning that no editor can read something without changing it. (Having editor disputes lately, Geraldine?)
Anyway, all of that said, don't take the book too seriously, and I believe you will really enjoy the read, especially the jabs at Catholicism, and the base nature of people. Otherwise, you'll likely be frustrated that the book is not something different than it is. I recommend this book to young readers who enjoy a good dark comedy.
-Lindsey Miller, www.lindseyslibrary.com
Posted March 23, 2011
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