Yesterday I was hanging around over at Fuse, and she mentioned that she had just read a book that was the perfect antidote to all of the heavy, serious stuff she’d finished lately. As for an overload of the serious, I can relate. Try mixing up a little Home of the Brave with a spoonful or two of Someone Named Eva and a dash of Cracker and you’ve got a pretty intense cocktail (The Cybils Screwdriver?). Don’t get me wrong… those 3 titles are near and dear to me, but after a while, a girl needs something to lighten the mood.
Alex and the Ironic Gentleman, by Adrienne Kress, is just what the doctor ordered. It made me want to:
1) Lighten up.
2) Pay much closer attention to doorknobs.
3) Start carrying around my toothbrush in a protective case wherever I’m going, in case of emergency.
4) Get myself a really big fridge with a sense of humour.
5) Change my last name to Magnanimous.
I loved this book. It is a romp from start to finish – clever and quick and amusing and more-ish. In brief: Alex Morningside goes to a very posh, though very dull school. With the arrival of an exciting new teacher, Alex finds her life takes a sharp turn toward adventure. As it turns out, Alex’s teacher, Mr Underwood, has a few secrets that don’t stay hidden for long and lead to him to be kidnapped by pirates (naturally). Alex gets swept up into a most unexpected and fantastical journey involving wicked old women, a nutcase hotelier and a misunderstood celebrity octopus.
This is a book ideal for Roald Dahl fans and lovers of Lemony Snicket, and I can imagine kids who enjoyed The Mysterious Benedict Society finding lots to appreciate here. I applaud almost any story with a girl protagonist that I can imagine boys reading without any grousing. Adrienne Kress knows how to put a story together. I enjoyed the cast of quirky secondary characters immensely.
So if you’re up to your eyeballs in serious tear-jerkers, it might be the right moment for this treat. It’s just like when you’ve been out at a fancy schmancy restaurant and you’ve eaten all sorts of lovely, rich food, and then the waiter sweeps up and places a small crystal dish of grapefruit sorbet in front of you and drawls, “To cleanse the palate mademoiselle…” Alex and the Ironic Gentleman is the perfect palate cleanser.
And sometimes, at those hoity-toity places, you taste that lovely grapefruit sorbet and you just want to say, “Hey – don’t bother with whatever else is coming, I just want lots more of that.”
This one is a winner.