Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley


Title: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
Author: Alan Bradley
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: April 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover, 384 pages
Age Group: Adult
Series: The Buckshaw Chronicles (Book 1)

Eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce has a curious nature, desiring to understand the workings of the world through chemistry. She also has an affinity for poisons. So when a bird is found dead on the doorstep, a stranger argues with her father in the middle of the night, and she witnesses the last breath of a murder victim in the cucumber patch, Flavia is determined to solve the mystery and prove her father's innocence.

I really wanted to like this book but it just didn't hold my attention the way I had anticipated it would. Perhaps it was the setting - the English countryside, or the time period - 1950, that caused me to feel uneasy as a viewer of this tale. I found Flavia's character to be a bit over the top as she dashed here and there trying to connect all the pieces of the puzzle. Her flashes of insight seemed forced at times, although I did understand all the bits of the mystery at the end.

At times this book felt like it was more of a young adult novel, with an eleven-year-old as the narrator, yet it was a very adult book at the same time. Flavia exudes both the excitement and innocence of her age and a wisdom far beyond them.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is the first novel to feature Flavia but it will not be the last as Bradley has at least two more books planned for the Buckshaw chronicles. Bradley won the Debut Dagger Award in 2007 for The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.

While the book was enjoyable, it did not hold my interest well enough for me to continue on with the series. I have seen many favorable reviews for this book and I am sure it would fit other reading tastes better than mine.

Thank you to the publisher for sending me an Advance Reading Copy of The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie through the Member Givewaway Program at LibraryThing.

2009 Reading Challenges

1st in a Series Challenge