Primrose, a young orphaned girl, is trying to make sense of her muddled existence. She takes to recording recipes of various comfort and not so comforting foods.
As I read this narrative, I was mulling over the six things which help to create good writing according to Perry Nodelman.
Rich description – this novel has humourous and vivid descriptions of character, setting and food.
Intriguing characters – a wealth of background ‘flat’ characters support the dynamic character of Primrose.
Suspenseful plot – the reader is kept guessing throughout the novel will the two characters whom Primrose loves fall in love with each other and create the family that Primrose has lost? Will her parents return as Primrose keeps insisting they will? Both endings feel possible and neither would be a disappointment. The reader could even plan a sequel when the one comes true and the other is left open.
Interesting themes – family, Social Services, bullying, food, grief, friendship, hope…there are quite the number to choose from. I was left wondering what the author had intended through the recipes. Pieces of Nodelman – is their meaning behind the choices of foods, the reiteration of the recipe them or is it just a joyful diversion from the rest of the story?
Complex structures -there is a lovely little bit where Primrose is sent to live with foster parents and tells them her story. Very enjoyable piece of writing structure.
Variable focalizations – nope. First person narrative but she is an engaging character. She reminds me a little of Kenneth Oppel’s Peg from Peg and the Whale. I kept thinking I was on the Eastern Coast instead of the Western Coast. Funny.
Worthwhile story, fun and well-written by Polly Horvath