My One Hundred Adventures - Polly Horvath

Mrs. Gourd stands stock-still. She is thinking. Her eyes kind of roll when she does this. It is not the normal way a person thinks. It seems to require more mechanical effort. As if her eyes are needed to crank her brain into gear and keep it running.

Twelve-year-old Jane lives in a big rambling beach house with her mom and her three little siblings. One Sunday, at the start of summer, she hears the preacher Nellie Phipps say that we should pray all the time, for anything. So she prays for a hundred adventures. And then things happen.

From dropping Bibles out of a hot-air balloon to tromping around in a swamp looking for an invisible poodle, Jane has a pretty exciting, adventurous summer. But everything's just a little off-kilter. Horvath has an interesting tone of voice, and while there are certainly laugh-out-loud moments, there are more of the "gee, that's kind of funny" types. She and her best friend Ginny are blackmailed into babysitting the five Gourd children, who are challenging at their best. Jane's mom seems to be romantically involved with several men, which leads to a lot of questions on Jane's part.

It's a hard book to describe. Jane narrates the tale, but the language she uses doesn't seem to be the sort that a twelve-year-old would use, and maybe that's what contributed to the off-kilter feeling; it's one of these books that isn't formulaic and so you really don't know what to expect most of the time.

Robyn and I both enjoyed it, but since I didn't like it as enthusiastically as some of the other books I've read recently, I didn't give it a brain-rating. Maybe worth a read if you're looking for something different, but don't put it at the top of your list.

Fed to jonathan's brain | September 15, 2009 | Comments (0)


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