Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Name of This Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch+

Maybe Pseudonymous Bosch was just shocked by my age, but it took a long time for me to be trusted by the UK website for The Name of This Book is Secret. I actually sat there and thought of all the reasons I might not be trusted as the little, blue, pulsating oblong at the bottom of the screen inched toward completion. I mean, I can be trusted, right? I didn't lie about my age. Has modern technology come so far that it can tell just by the way I type that I am actually totally useless at keeping a secret?
So it seems is the narrator of The Name of This Book is Secret. At first I thought it was all a bit gimmicky. The first chapter is Xed out completely and then you get a pep talk on how dangerous the book is and do you really want to venture forth blah, blah, blah. However, once there was actual plot, I was hooked. This reads a little like a Lemony Snicket book. Personally I find Snicket annoying, interrupting too much and trying overly hard to be clever. Bosch is less intrusive.
The plot is fast moving and not all that predictable. Cassandra, a survivalist and doomsayer (thus the name), often hangs out with her adopted (gay?) grandfathers in their antique shop. A real estate agent who specializes in clearing out and selling the houses of the recently deceased brings in a pile of junk from a magician's house. Needless to say the magician died in mysterious circumstances, and Cassandra soon finds herself mixed up in a dastardly plot to uncover a terrible secret that will, should Pseudonymous Bosh not be pulling our legs, change the reader's life forever.
I could relate to Cass. Her favorite weather condition is wind on a sunny day, as is mine. She is growing up without her father, who was struck by lightning. Mine wasn't struck by anything but probably could have benefited from an electrical charge or two. Max Ernst's (Cass' diminutive and verbose sidekick) parents are so divided that their house is split in two, with Max's bedroom straddling both sides. I found this a rather apt image for the way that many divorced parents insist on dividing their child equally between them, thereby making their child in need of therapy for most of their adult life. Bosch does a nice job of fleshing out his characters with these details and saves his book and its heroes from becoming Snicketesque.

Other reviews of The Name of this Book is Secret: Book Kid Reviews, Kidsread.com, Seeing Indigo

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