What I’ve been reviewing – The Realms of Gold by Margaret Drabble

The Realms of GoldThe Realms of Gold by Margaret Drabble

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Mimsy Hampstead-liberal wandering aimless fluff. And I use the word ‘fluff’ advisedly, as one who has no idea of the Goodreads policy on effing and jeffing. Drabble actually goes in for some meta idiocy at points, admitting she’s making it up as she goes along, has changed her mind about some plot points and doesn’t know what she’s doing. Tip: DON’T DO THAT.

If you’re still going to read it, I have no idea what to say to you.

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What I’ve been reviewing – The Waterfall by Margaret Drabble

 

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The WaterfallThe Waterfall by Margaret Drabble

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was actually slightly engaged by this Drabble, which is still by no means a recommendation. The antiheroine is so aggressively depressed and protective of that immersed gloom and negativity that I felt rather like applauding her. It’s a stance you have to tough out and justify with chin thrust out, in a world trying to drag you into a perpetual love-in. That said, still not a great book and a limp rag of an ending.

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image – https://www.flickr.com/photos/pixo7000/ licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

What I’ve been reviewing – Danny the Champion of the World, by Roald Dahl

 

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Danny the Champion of the WorldDanny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as a kid (the squirrels! the Oompa-Loompas!). But this is the Roald Dahl book that has stayed with me, and a lot of other people I’ve met along the way. Like any really outstanding kids’ book it has a lot to say to, and about, adults.

Danny has a warm and loving relationship with his Dad: it’s a touchstone that gives him a measure for sane and healthy adult behaviour. It enables him to see the reverse, too: when an adult is nothing but a tall child, using a position of power and control to get off on exerting that power. He sees clearly, cannot be gaslit: he has the insight to know there are not two standards of ethical behaviour between children and adults, or indeed between any two groups of people. If an adult lies to his face, then calls him a simply awful little liar, he is not confused and not convinced.

Projection, much? There’s a lot of it about, of course: the corrupt impugn the honesty of others, the self-important want to take others ‘down a peg or two’. It’s a misdirection that works with the sheep, the weak and the stupid, often enough. But you can’t piss on Danny’s shoes and tell him it’s raining: he knows what ethical behaviour in good faith looks like, and what it don’t, bud.

Love gives him wisdom, and strength: but of course even the kindest most loving adult is a well of secrets, and Danny finds out his Dad is a more complex character than he dreamed… Isn’t everyone? That’s part of growing up, too.

Absolutely darling illustrations in the old Puffin edition by Jill Bennet, rather less enchanted by Quentin Blake.

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image – James Havard https://www.flickr.com/photos/64885769@N08/ licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

What I’ve been reviewin’ – Wilkins’ Tooth by Diana Wynne Jones

Wilkins' ToothWilkins’ Tooth by Diana Wynne Jones

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A charmingly daft, deft, graceful early work. The workaround for swearing is hilarious! And beware, the Big Bad is actually quite scary. A darling of a read, and ought to be as celebrated as many of her other great works.

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What I’ve been reviewin’ – Witch Week by Diana Wynne Jones

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Witch Week (Chrestomanci, #3)Witch Week by Diana Wynne Jones

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Good fun, but it’s like observing the characters through glass – there’s less emotional attachment than in the other Chrestomanci books, for me.

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image – bird flew https://www.flickr.com/photos/birdflew/ on Flickr, licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/