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Posted August 2, 2011
A modern-day American Alice, called Oliver, living in Paris
Cross Harry Potter with Alice through the Looking Glass. Add a touch of The Little Prince, and season carefully with hints of multiverse physics to balance the wonders of rhetoric and metaphor. When you're done you might have something close to Adam Gopnik's children's novel, The King in the Window. And if you're wondering if kids could ever understand the concept of rhetoric (or multiverses), try this simple explanation from an early chapter: "It dressed up ordinary things in fancy paper, then let you unwrap them in your mind, like presents."
Oliver Parker is a twelve-year-old American boy living in Paris. Contrasts between America and France are very convincingly portrayed through Oliver's eyes and through comments from his parents and teachers. Life is hard. School is serious. And language arts, taught in a foreign language, give heavy devoirs (homework). But that's not Oliver's only problem. There's the fact that his father, once loving and deeply involved in his life, now seems to grow ever more distant. There's the row he had with a girl called Neige downstairs. There's the American friend who's too far away to be any help, but thanks to computers and wi-fi hotspots is near enough to talk to. And there's the strange character who looks out from a window when Oliver incautiously, and childishly, persists in wearing a paper crown after Epiphany celebrations.
This novel has all the charm and intriguing word-play of Alice, the solid world-building and modern-day outlook of Harry Potter, the foreign mystique of the Little Prince, and a wonderful combination of imagination, allegory and science. Exciting, innocent, esoterically clever and solidly down-to-earth, the result is a book that draws adults in just as surely as children, leaving the reader just slightly the wiser, pleasantly confused, and with a whole new wonderful outlook on windows and mirrors.
Disclosure: A friend's grandson recommended this book and I loved it!
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 24, 2009
Rating: 2.5 starsWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
I picked up this book at a secondhand store and was captivated by the shiny gold cover. After reading the blurb I decided to buy it and give it a read. I was dissapointed. It's not a bad story, it's just not something I could lose myself in. I quickly got bored with this book and it seemed to take forever to finish. I can't quite put my finger on exactly what I didn't like about The King in the Window, whether it was the writing or mabye just bad timing, but this is one book of mine that may find itself back at the secondhand store.
Posted March 11, 2006
It was Great
I love this book it made me change the way I ever looked into a mirror again. It was awesome! Ya sure they make fun of us, Americans, but that is just for humor. Who cares about a tape or a disk. I am also not surprised that people in Europe don't know all our new gadgets. And not to make you mad but our test scores are not what they were.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 7, 2005
Good story, poor writing
The King in the Window could have been a wonderful book. It isn't, because of poor writing, insults to Americans on nearly every page, and the mistakes that the author makes. Mistakes such as playing a 'tape' on a Discman, and not understanding how computers, ipods, cell phones and Gameboys work (yet using them as plot devices) really detract from the story. I had to force myself to ignore the constant jibes about Americans and their lack of education (which struck me as ironic anyway: Oliver has been in Paris since the age of three and is the product of French schools, yet the author repeatedly tells us how stupid he is just because he is American, not because of his French education). We hear again and again how imbecilic his friend Charlie is, because he is an American. I also couldn't believe that a 12-year-old boy in metropolitan Europe has no famililarity with the electronic devices mentioned above. The King in the Window could have been a great story. The author's idea is a good one and the book would please almost any reader of the science fiction/fantasy genre, but the plot details and insults are difficult to take and are extremely distracting.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 15, 2005