Flash Reviews (3rd August 2013)

Little Vampire on the Farm – Angela Sommer-Bodenburg
I did enjoy this story, but it wasn’t quite as well plotted as The Little Vampire in Love.  I would have liked more to happen, and it was also a little lacking in Little Vampiric activity.  On the whole, I do really like the characters which

Tony in The Little Vampire film

Tony in The Little Vampire film

Sommer-Bodenburg has created, but Tony seemed just a touch too petulant and unkind here.  His grumpiness irked me a little after a time, which was a real shame, as I found him to be a bit of a sweetheart in the aforementioned book (and in the film!).

Karlson Flies Again – Astrid Lindgren
The Karlson series does not feature my favourites of Lindgren’s characters, and nor is it my favourite of her tales.  Despite this, it is rather a fun read nonetheless.  Karlson is an incredibly stubborn protagonist, and has to be ‘the best’ at everything.  I must admit that I do not find him a likeable character at all, but without him, I suppose there would be no possibility of such a story.  He does provide a nice contrast to the rather too good at times Smidge, the book’s other protagonist.  Overall, Karlson Flies Again is nicely written, and it is certainly not a book which is short of adventures.

Hungry Hearts and Other Stories – Anzia Yezierska
I probably would never have heard of Yezierska had she not been on the Virago Modern Classics list which I’m making my way through.  I was quite looking forward to seeing what her writing style would be like, particularly after being so intrigued by the blurb of Hungry Hearts and Other Stories.  Inside its interlinked stories, I found some incredibly interesting musings on time, place and community, and I liked the author’s thoughts and comments about forging a new identity in a foreign country.  Despite this, very few of the characters were easy to identify with, and I felt compassion for none of them, a fact which never endears me to a book.  I was also a little annoyed by some of the grammatical misuse as the story went on.  I know that they were used merely as a tool to set the scene and to highlight both the learning of English and the displacement of Jews in the USA, but the double negatives really began to get on my nerves.  I feel that Yezierska overused them, and thus any power they could have had was lost.  Hungry Hearts and Other Stories is not the best short story collection I’ve ever read by any means, but it was quite interesting nonetheless.

Feather Boy – Nicky Singer
I absolutely adored the CBBC television adaptation of Feather Boy when it was shown during my childhood, and was so excited when I found out that it was based upon a novel.  Reading it, I can see how well adapted the original material was to the screen.  Robert Nobel, otherwise known as ‘Norbert’ by his cruel classmates, is just as endearing and adorable in the book.  I love the way that the story is told from his perspective.   I very much enjoyed the intertwined mysteries woven throughout, and the way in which Robert’s story crossed paths with that of his Elder’s.  The building of their friendship and his growing courage is wonderfully realised.  Feather Boy is so well written, and I am pleased that I am able to add it to my favourites list.

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