Saturday, September 27, 2008

Penderwicks redux

Well, I read The Penderwicks, by Jeanne Birdsall. It was OK ... kind of a growing-up story. It takes place in Massachusetts, at a house in the country that the Penderwick family has rented for a month. There are four girls in the family, and their dad, a professor who drops Latin quotations a lot. Their mother died after the youngest girl was born. Oh, and there's also their dog, Hound.
The oldest kid is Rosalind, who has to take care of her younger siblings. She's practical, hard-working and pretty, and on the edge of her first real crush. Batty is the youngest. She's emotionally addicted to the butterfly wings she wears all the time, and to Hound.
Jane is a dreamer who wants to become a writer. And Skye is the rebel.
Throw this lovely family into a guest cottage on an estate, complete with an interesting teen-age gardener, a nasty landlady, and the landlady's son, Jeffrey, and you have a great formula for what should be a wonderful book.
But it didn't do much for me. Maybe the people just didn't have quite enough character? I love Roald Dahl's delightfully nasty characters. But the Penderwicks, for me, were rather flat.
Anybody disagree? Write and tell me why I'm wrong! Or right.

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