Thursday, February 10, 2011
Angie's not the only one who can't wait for books-no, I didn't stay up until 12:01 to download it on my Kindle. I pre-ordered it and presto-chango...there it was on the release date! (Satisfied my need for instant gratification!) So what book was I eagerly awaiting? A RED HERRING WITHOUT MUSTARD by Alan Bradley. So far there are two other books in the series-THE WEED THAT STRINGS THE HANGMAN'S BAG and THE SWEETNESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIE, which I've also read. This series is a departure from my normal reading-instead of featuring an adult heroine, this sleuth is a motherless, eleven year old girl (Flavia de Luce) growing up in a backwater hamlet in post WWII Great Brittan. She also happens to be a genius and is fascinated with chemistry, mainly poisons.
So what is it about this series that made me feel that I must have this latest book on its release date? After all, the character is only eleven and A LOT of water has passed under that particular bridge since I was the same age. Plus I can't recall anyone ever claiming I was a genius! Sure, the series is well written, the dialogue is snappy, and the characters are interesting, but in the end, how can an average, middle-aged woman identify with a really smart, pre-pubescent girl?
For me, I think the answer to that question is Flavia's vulnerability. She's an outsider, even within her own family. She wants to be accepted so badly, and when she's not, she retreats behind her intelligence and a façade of sarcasm. And regardless of one's age, who hasn't felt like they were on the outside looking in at one point or the other?
All of this leads me around to a question for you-what is it about your favorite characters that makes them your favorite? Is it the way they overcome the challenges facing them? Do they say and do things that you've always wished you could do? Is it, like my feelings toward Flavia, their vulnerability? Or something else entirely?
That's it for this week. To all my fellow Midwesterners-stay warm and I'll see you next Thursday!!!