Monday, July 12, 2010

Was Totally Into It, But Then...

I read The Wild Boy of Aveyron by Jean-Marc Gaspard Itard when I was a teenager. (Where did I find the stuff I read back then?) Nowadays students of his case lean toward the theory that young Victor was born with his disabilities and abandoned by his family and not raised by wolves at all, but adolescent Gail was fascinated by the possibility of a feral child and pained by the fact that Victor was never able to live a normal life. I have read many an account of wolf childen since then.

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood had me from the cover.

This is an elegantly written and clever book that I definitely enjoyed. I don't usually care for an omniscient narrator who talks to me, but the one used in this book is just fine. Do you have to have spent your adolescence reading historical novels about governesses and young wives of twitty English aristocrats to enjoy The Incorrigible Children? Do you have to love feral children? I suspect not. But if you do have the right reading background, I think you'll get extra pleasure from The Incorrigible Children.

My only objection to this book came a few pages from the end when I realized this is not the first book in a series but the first book in a serial, meaning this book really doesn't have much in the way of an ending. Nothing is resolved. The favorable review in the May/June edition of The Horn Book Magazine described this first installment in the serial as being "practically all setup," and I agree.

It is a mystery to me why kids don't find this kind of thing frustrating, but publishers, at least, believe they don't. Myself, I can't tell you how despondent I get when I reach that point in a book when I realize that I'm not reading a book at all, but an installment in a serial.

But except for that The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Mysterious Howling is a lovely piece of work.

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