Monday, December 17, 2012

Secrets at Sea by Richard Peck

Well, here's an unexpected tale...

I picked up Secrets at Sea because of the cover -- a delightful illustration of mice enjoying the high seas.  Since I love both mice (having thrilled to the tales of Miss Bianca and Bernard as a youngling, as well as the tales of Redwall, The Mouse of Amherst, and the Rats of NIMH) and the open sea, I expected to fall in love with this book.

But I almost didn't.

And I think the font is largely responsible (although I think the author's voice had something to do with it as well).

It is difficult for me to read some fonts -- isn't that rather unfair to poor storytellers who don't choose their own fonts?  I have no idea why it's so terribly hard for me, but it is, and that's all there is to it.

The voice felt very slow as well, and I had to pick the book up and put it down several times before I finished the story.

But, if you're unlike me in that you can read any font, you might really enjoy this story.

(Which isn't to say I didn't enjoy it -- the last half of the book was hilarious while also thought-provoking)

This is the story of Helena -- a mouse, her sisters and brother, and their journey across the ocean with "their" humans (their families are intertwined -- the Upstairs Cranstons are the humans, and the Downstairs Cranstons are the mice, and they've lived in the same houses for generations), whereupon they meet several mice of distinction (and humans as well) in an attempt to make a new life for themselves -- and their humans.  It's the story of an eldest sister who feels left out, the decisions we must make to be happy (and let others be happy), and the surprises life brings our way just when we think we've got it all figured out.

It's sort of a Jane Austen high society satire with a look into the impoverished side of things as well as racial -- speciest? (well, mice vs. people) differences.

If you like madcap capers, romantic intrigue on the high seas, society weddings, witty dialogue and light-hearted, screwball comedy -- try this book.

See you on Wednesday!

P.S. Not quite done with the thrilling fairytale so that'll have to wait until after Christmas.  I'll be taking a break next week and will return on Jan. 1.

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