The Memory Prisoner

The Memory Prisoner

by Thomas Bloor, Chris Sheban
     
 

For thirteen years Maddie Palmer has sat by the window, never leaving the house, getting the news of the day from her younger brother, Keith. For thirteen years she has buried her memories-of the dark fortress of the Town Library, which casts its long shadow over Pridebridge, and what happened there so long ago.

But when Keith is forced to work in the secret…  See more details below

Overview

For thirteen years Maddie Palmer has sat by the window, never leaving the house, getting the news of the day from her younger brother, Keith. For thirteen years she has buried her memories-of the dark fortress of the Town Library, which casts its long shadow over Pridebridge, and what happened there so long ago.

But when Keith is forced to work in the secret cavern of the library, Maddie must leave her familiar prison behind-or risk losing her brother for good.

Thomas Bloor's first novel, reminiscent of Louis Sachar's Holes and Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time, is at once very funny and strangely poignant, as tantalizing and mysterious as Maddie herself.

Editorial Reviews

KLIATT
Fifteen-year-old Maddie, "a towering mountain of a girl," has not left her house in 13 years, relying on her younger brother Keith to be her eyes and ears in the outside world. Her fear of leaving home dates from a visit to the town's sinister Tower Library when she was two, accompanied by her grandfather, whom she has not seen since—a visit she remembers only as terrifying, so terrifying that it has made her a "memory prisoner." But when poor, much-bullied Keith is chosen to be library apprentice to the stern and threatening head librarian, Mr. Lexeter, and stumbles upon a prison cell in the library's basement, Maddie must leave her house to come to Keith's aid. In the process she discovers the secret of the Tower Library and of her missing grandfather. This fast-moving British mystery/adventure tale is more fantasy than reality-based, but no less engaging for that. Bloor, a first-time novelist, delivers an exciting story with a memorable heroine, a good choice for younger YAs and reluctant readers. KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 2000, Penguin Putnam/Dial, 144p, $15.99. Ages 13 to 15. Reviewer: Paula Rohrlick; May 2001 (Vol. 35 No. 3)
VOYA
I would recommend this book to any middle school age kids who like to read, especially those who like mysteries. The Tower Library is very interesting. After Keith is chosen by Mr. Lexeter to work at the library and tells Maddie about his first day, the book is hard to put down. The story gets especially exciting when Keith tells about hearing the prisoner. There are many different mysteries in this book, and that makes it a very exciting book to read. VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P J (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2001, Dial, 144p, $15.99. Ages 13 to 15. Reviewer: Amanda Lang, Teen Reviewer SOURCE: VOYA, August 2001 (Vol. 24, No. 3)
School Library Journal
Gr 5-7-Maddie sits at home paralyzed by a memory she can't quite recollect. Day by day, year after year, she peers out her window, gathering bits and pieces of information as she gains weight. Cocooned in her hushed memory and folds of flesh, the 15-year-old dodges mean taunts tossed up to her window from the neighborhood hoodlum, Park. Thirteen years ago, Maddie's Grandad Lemon disappeared while they were on a library outing. From that day on, the Tower Library has been open only to a privileged few. Through academic achievement, Maddie's little brother, Keith, "her eyes and ears," has been selected as Library Apprentice, an honor he accepts reluctantly. Maddie then works toward a final solution to the mystery. The siblings are pitted against power-hungry adults and survive fantastically dire scenes. Maddie and Keith carry on despite the addle-brained adults they're saddled with. Their mother is a befuddled character whose bizarre behavior is gratingly annoying; her idiosyncrasies never achieve a humorous edge. Characters are introduced and disposed of without any strong ties to one another or to the plot. Park, whose threatening behavior serves to oust Maddie from the house, is dropped from the story, while Grandad Lemon, barely a whisper from the past, suddenly becomes the central figure that carries it through to the end. Maddie's determination to rescue him and their town from the clutches of the scheming Mr. Lexeter results in adventurous moments, but a slow plot and sloppy character development tip the reaction scale toward gloomy and dull.-Alison Follos, North Country School, Lake Placid, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A traumatic childhood experience that culminated with her grandfather's mysterious disappearance and presumed death has made 15-year-old Maddie Palmer a prisoner of her house. Unable to leave her domicile, Maddie, "a towering mountain of a girl" with "a big boulder of a face" has spent the last 13 years indoors. Her window on the world is her younger brother Keith, who nightly gives her a blow-by-blow account of everything that he has seen, heard, and read since he left the house that morning. Both of their lives change forever when Keith is selected to be an apprentice in the gloomy Tower Library, run by the powerful and wily Mr. Lexeter. The things Keith, who Maddie calls "Eyes and Ears," tells her about Mr. Lexeter and the Tower Library begin to erode the banks of Maddie's repressed memory, and she commences an investigation into the sinister and Kafka-esque institution. Once Maddie begins to regain her memory, leaves her house, and instigates a battle with the evil Mr. Lexeter, the story changes focus, losing the otherworldly dreamlike quality that sustained it. What was mysterious and surreal in the world of Maddie's mind becomes both harder to swallow and less compelling in the context of the still nightmarishly bizarre but now more grounded action-adventure story. Still, newcomer Bloor's ideas are strong and his descriptive powers-which are so sharp that the reader can practically see, hear, and smell the contours of his imaginary world-keeps the material lively and thought-provoking throughout. (Fiction. 10-14)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780803726871
Publisher:
Dial
Publication date:
06/06/2001
Pages:
144
Product dimensions:
5.78(w) x 8.64(h) x 0.65(d)
Age Range:
10 - 12 Years

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