Friday, December 01, 2006

Review: Caddy Ever After

The newest installment of the Casson family series, Caddy Ever After, is a novel narrated by all child members of the Casson family--Rose, Saffron, Indigo, and Caddy. Each child's point of view on the days leading up to Caddy's wedding is presented in journal form, with most entries coming from Rose and Saffron. A series of seemingly unrelated events (a school dance, Rose's accident at school, a broken-down car, a lightning storm, Sarah's illness) all culminate in the big event.

Many people have complained about the book's title and the fact that it doesn't have much to do with the story. Indeed, Caddy "speaks" very little in the book. But, the intertwined story lines all lead to Caddy's wedding brilliantly.

Hilary McKay's eccentric family is as wonderfully unique as usual, and I really enjoyed the multiple first-person views on a few weeks in the life of the family. Indigo is as taciturn and intelligent as usual, Saffron is suffering from some teenaged angst, and Rose is heartbroken at Caddy's new love-at-first-sight and perplexed by events at school. Rose's school days are particularly poignant. Her best friend Kiran is a hilarious storyteller and her teacher downright funny. When Rose's teacher, for example, hears of Caddy's approaching wedding during "Hot Gossip" time, she responds:

  • "'Five team points for being a bridesmaid, then, Rose....And for goodness' sake, stop moping. Thousands of people make unsuitable marriages every day and if you feel that strongly you can always voice your objections at the appropriate point in the service. That is why it is there."

Well, you can guess what happens. When Caddy, who is marrying the brother of one of Saffy's shortlived boyfriends (met through Indigo), doesn't marry Rose's favorite "darling Michael," she does indeed object. Quite comically, in fact.

Caddy Ever After is a touching, smart novel for children ages nine and up. It's funny, intelligent, and so very true. Caddy Ever After is highly recommended and a welcome addition to the Casson family saga.