Wednesday, April 1, 2009
The Book of Nonsense by David Slater
I love it when novels start out by gushing about books. I know I'm a nerd that way, but when I started to read The Book of Nonsense by David Slater, I had to stop reading immediately and jot down a note: "Starts off talking about a huge, ancient used book store of awesome. Plz to be discussing in review, kthx."
The rest of the book was just as delightful. Daphna is a lovely, believable and fully realized character who's offset nicely by her fraternal twin, Dexter. While Daphna finds her "place" in books and bibliophilia, Dexter hasn't found where he belongs quite yet. Needless to say, this does cause some clashes of personality. Daphna's father is a book scout (more win!) who returns from a foray into the land of book-buying with a strange tome in tow: the outside of the book is battered, and the inside is filled with page upon page of language piled together in a seemingly nonsensical form.
Hence the title, you see.
Of course, the aforementioned Huge, Ancient Used Book Store of Awesome had to figure into the plot in more than just a throw-away line at the end (this novel is also impeccably plotted, let me tell you). Daphna's father wants to sell the nonsense book to the owner of the ABC (Antiquarian Book Center), Asterius Rash. And what is Asterius Rash going to do with the book for which Slater's novel is named?
He is going to use it to take over the world. Obviously.
Okay. I might be getting a little over excited here.
Objectively, I would have to give The Book of Nonsense four stars out of five, if only because there are some loose ends that are left flapping by the end of the novel, and overall, I was hoping for more development between the children and their father. I would recommend The Book of Nonsense to fellow bibliophiles and folks who like their MG/YA fiction dark but with heart.
David Slater has written several picture books. His website can be found here.