Friday, July 10, 2009

Book 2 of the Summer Reading Book Challenge

Book 2: Slob by Ellen Potter

There's no doubt that I am a HUGE fan of Ellen Potter's work. I absolutely adore her novel Pish Posh and I love her Olivia Kidney series - in fact the first Olivia Kidney book was our very first book club book and also our first author interview! Giving credit where credit is due, it is because of Ellen Potter that the book club has done so many author interviews. I was asbolutely flabbergasted when she called me at the library and offered to talk with the club. She planted the seed that it might be possible to do author interviews if I just *ask*. What a novel idea... :-)

So naturally, I was overjoyed when I found out a few months ago that she had a new novel coming out, one that features a boy main character. And let me just say that she did not let me down!

Here's a brief summary of the book:
"Twelve-year-old Owen Birnbaum is the fattest kid in school. But he's also a genius who invents cool contraptions - like a TV that can show the past. There is something that happened two years ago that he needs to see if he ever hopes to unravel a dreadful mystery.

But genius or not, there is much Own can't outthink. Like how his oreos keep disappearing from his lunch. Or why his sister suddenly wants to be called by a boy's name. Or why a diabolical, scar-faced thug at school seems to be on a mission to destroy him. He's sure that if he can only get the TV to work, things will start to make sense. But it will take a revelation, not a cool contraption, for Owen to see that the answer's not in the past, but the present. That no matter how large he is on the outside, he doesn't have to feel small on the inside."

I loved Slob. Owen is a fantastic main character who refuses to be defined by his weight and is determined to unravel the mysteries of the past. I loved his relationships - with his mom, Zelda, his sister, Jeremy and his Indian neighbor, Nima (maker of the famous momos - where can I get some?) All of the characters felt authentic. In another author's hands, a character like the evil gym teacher, Mr. Wooly, might have come across as cliched, but not in Ellen Potter's hands. And most of all I loved that no one was who they first appeared to be on the surface, especially Mason Ragg. Everyone had their own deeper layers created by their own unique experiences. Which reminds us not to judge people (or books for that matter) by their covers since you never know what surprises lie just beneath the surface.

No comments: