Friday, May 1, 2015

Review: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (Flavia de Luce, Book 1)

Synopsis: It is the summer of 1950–and at the once-grand mansion of Buckshaw, young Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison, is intrigued by a series of inexplicable events: A dead bird is found on the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. Then, hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and watches him as he takes his dying breath. For Flavia, who is both appalled and delighted, life begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw. “I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn’t. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life.” (from the back of the book)

Review: To be fair, I only actually read the last bit of this novel. For most of it, I listened to the lovely Jayne Entwistle bring the story to life via audio book. It was brilliant. Her crisp voice read Bradley's words with a lively, clean, sound. And Bradley's words - oh, the simile, the vocabulary, the literary references - delightful. The main character, Flavia, is endearing and enchanting. I should like to have a child like her. He perfectly captured the mind of an eleven-year-old girl. The plot, twisting and twinning, characters full of mystery, the emotional depth all combine to make a nearly perfect novel. I'm hooked - utterly and completely, and I must have more of this marvelous story.

Bookmarks: 8 of 10

Awards: Agatha Award, Best First Novel 2009, Alex Award 2010 (Nominated), Amelia Bloomer List, Young Adult Fiction 2010, Anthony Award, Best First Novel 2010 (Nominated), Arthur Ellis Awards, Best First Novel 2010, Barry Award, Best First Novel 2010 , Dilys Award 2010, Macavity Awards, Best First Mystery Novel 2010, Spotted Owl Award 2010, YALSA Best Books for Young Adults 2010, YRCA, Senior Division 2012 (Nominated)

ISBN: 978-0-385-34349-7
Date Finished: 4-29-2015
Pages: 370

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