Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy

How is it already the 7th of January!

I honestly had every intention of getting this post up earlier but who would have guessed the holidays would be a little more involved and a lot more crazy when you through a baby into the mix.

In hindsight, I probably should have been able to figure that out.

Add to that my last few free nights have been exploring and sharing the wondrous new Doctor (you don't get terribly many nights free for writing with a little one either) and  . . .voila, it's January.

Oh well, better forward than behind at this point.

I am sad it took me so long to write about Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee for the sole reason of it being such an enjoyable read. I've really been lucky of late in the books I've been getting to read and this one was no exception.

As usual, I was offered this book for free in exchange for me honest review and opinion of the novel.

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy, centers upon a young girl named Ophelia who's family is coping with the loss of their mother/wife through various means.

Ophelia's father has become obsessed with his work at a new museum with a mysterious overseer.

Ophelia's sister has become lost in the world of teenage ambitions, beauty, and growing up.

Poor Ophelia though finds herself stuck with a marvelous boy who keeps requesting ridiculous things that stretch her familiar and comforting logic to the brink and yet she can't seem to leave the boy alone.

My first impression of Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy was to harken back to another series I had began by the name of Lemony Snickett. Both books shared that somewhat darker flavour for a children's novel and yet held a sense of interest and well crafted plot that kept me going (even though I'm a few years past the target audience;) )

It was the rarity of this book though that made it so engrossing.

I was surprised (from a counselling background) how believable the characters expressions of grief were concerning the loss of the mother. As traditional children's novels tend to shy away from complex issues, I was impressed at the discussion which could be drawn from the text regarding grief if parents wished to use the book as a launching point for such a discussion.

I was also highly impressed with the author's use of names within the book. The Marvelous Boy is referred to as such  because his name has been taken from him - an interesting plot point and I'd rather not share any spoilers. I was concerned as this was revealed that it would make the character harder to connect with, especially with my personal interest in names. Somehow this boy still managed to wiggle into my heart (maybe due to me reading it with my own little boy on my lap) and send a not so subtle message on the power of names.

My one point of concern with the book is for readers like myself who would prefer to read a little more, rather than have a storyline left to the imagination. Although some characters were wrapped up nicely and even left in such a way that there could, potentially,  be a plausible sequel to this book, I just could not get into the one main character's resolution. When you read the book yourself ;) it's pretty obvious who. I understand that it's very stylistic and much more common to leave some endings more vague, but after so much build up between the boy, Ophelia, and the family . . . it just felt a little hollow. Not so frustrating I would not recommend the book but still frustrating enough for this completionist to mention :)

Overall, I found this to be a good read and a relaxing break from this year's festivities, and would easily give it 4/5 stars

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