Monday, March 7, 2011

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

Our newest book club choice led me to yet another book I probably wouldn't have picked up otherwise. I'm very glad it did. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, by Alan Bradley hooks you from the very beginning.
The book opens with Flavia de Luce, the 11 year old main character, tied up and kidnapped... by her sisters. Quickly the threat becomes more serious as a man Flavia just caught her dad fighting with ends up dead in their garden, found by her. She's immediately enthralled and titillated by the idea of figuring it all out. Never does she react like a little girl. Flavia, her own chemical lab upstairs, begins to put together all the pieces of the puzzle while weaving her way around this beautifully detailed and homey town.
Her father is arrested for the crime, and Flavia even considers him briefly but is determined to follow the clues after speaking with him at the jail. The reader is along for the ride, and I, for one, never seemed to figure it out much before our heroine did. I loved Flavia, but her father and sisters left a lot to be desired as a family unit. Even the cook, Mrs. Mullet (a suspect briefly) wasn't warm and cozy. I wanted more for Flavia, but maybe that's why she never seemed 10 or young... she had to be grown up and taking care of herself. This part of the story left me sad and unsatisfied.
This is part one of a multi-part series with Flavia as the main character, and I admit to being interested in how her journey continues. Rating: 4 stars