Sunday, October 3, 2010
The Strictest School in the World
Rocks My Socks: I love the setting of the novel and the satirical jabs it takes at English society at the time like the ruthless soccer match between local towns or how the gypsies are fed up with English children running off to join them. Emmaline is a bright, determined character and Rubberbones is a lovable scamp. The details about Emmaline's attempts to make a flying machine are interesting as well.
Rocks In My Socks: Once Emmaline gets to the strictest school etc it becomes very predictable and a bit boring. I realize that it's supposed to be satirizing the whole strict school trope, but this area of the novel just wasn't as strong or engaging. It also takes the hyperbole to the extreme at this point and what was at first a fairly realistic story with embellishments for comedic effect turns it into something that is just completely absurd and seems to follow no rhyme or reason or internal rules. I wish Emmaline had been left to making up flying devices in her small town. There is a thin line between making fun of a genre of fiction and just writing bad genre fiction, and for me this book skirted that line a bit too much.
Every Book Its Reader: Boys and girls aged 9-12 who like silly, light-hearted quick reads. There are similarities to the Lemony Snickett series, but this work is definitely not as dark so for children who liked the series for its humour, I'd recommend this book, but for children who liked Snickett for his darker tendencies I wouldn't. I think the book is a bit too basic and juvenile to be really enjoyed by most adults.
The Strictest School in the World by Howard Whitehouse