Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

I. Love. Flavia. Seriously - what a great character! So many of you have raved about her and I am so very happy that I took the time to meet her.

11-year-old Flavia de Leuce lives in a great big mansion with her father and two older sisters. She doesn't really have many friends her own age and she spends most of her time in her very own chemistry lab. Chemistry is her life's passion and she knows a lot (like A LOT) about poisons and other chemical stuff (I use the word 'stuff' here so you can see how much I know). Her life is pretty boring until she discovers a dead body in the garden - and finds out that her father is somehow involved too! So Flavia does what any kid would do - she uses her immense intelligence and her knowledge of chemistry to solve the mystery.

I think what I loved most about Flavia is the way she observed the world, the things she could deduce by sheer observation. I also enjoyed how she could always think of some way to get her answer. And of course I loved her love of chemistry - I wish Flavia was a real little girl in my life. Without the murder-in-the-garden bit. :-)

I loved the bits about stamp collecting too - I learned things that I wouldn't have known otherwise and I love it when that happens. Interesting stuff too, who knew I'd find stamps interesting at any point? ;-)

Has anyone read the next book in the series? Is it as good?

Challenges: 2010 Countdown, Orbis Terrarum, What's in a Name

10 comments:

Trish said...

LOL--you're opening line to this post, more than any thing else I've read about this book makes me want to pick this up immediately! Don't you just love a great character? I've been hearing such great things about this series and now I'm convinced.

Charley said...

I agree - Flavia is fantastic! I love the passage where she looks up slowly so that the lenses of her glasses flash 'blank white semaphores of light' at her sister. As for the second book, it didn't grab me as the first did, but it was still fun.

reviewsbylola said...

I was definitely skeptical about an 11 year old narrator but I fell in love with Flavia too. She is an awesome protagonist!

Memory said...

I didn't like the second book quite as much as this one, but it was still a treat to see Flavia again! I'd recommend it.

Amanda said...

I've been wanting to read this because I LOVED the young girl in Margherita Dolce Vita. Great review!

Carl V. said...

I'm always excited to see another person fall in love with Flavia. Seeing the world through her eyes is such a great pleasure. It reminds me of my own childhood adventures while also making me wish I had been even more adventurous as a child. Her love of chemistry and the stamp information were both very interesting. I think Bradley did a great job of allowing the reader to actually learn something without it sounding like an info dump or a classroom lecture.

After finishing The Vanishing of Katharina Linden yesterday I started reading The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag. I am 80 pages in and am enjoying it.

joanna said...

Trish - I think itts your kind of book, I hope you pick it up soon!

Charley - I actually marked some passages but my bookmarks fell out and so I can't share my fave passages! :-(

reviewbylola - totally awesome :-)

Memory - I think that even if everyone said it was mediocre I would still want to read it. Flavia is just that cool. :-)

Amanda - what's Margherita Dolce Vita? Uh-oh...

Carl - yeah, I love when authors include interesting info about topics most people wouldn't normally read about.

Carl V. said...

I just finished The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag last night. Wonderful! I'll be putting up a review soon. Now I can't wait until next year when book 3 comes out.

Kailana said...

I had this out from the library but didn't get very far into it. Hopefully the second time I will actually get to read it!

joanna said...

Carl - ooh, I guess I need to hurry up and get it now then!!

Kailana - I hope you like it as much as I did!