Friday, June 13, 2008

Book Review: The Curse of Addy McMahon by Katie Davis

Twelve-year-old Addy McMahon is cursed. You see, her great grandfather chopped down a tree near Latoon, Ireland. But it wasn't just any old tree; it was a fairy lair. Ever since Addy's great grandfather destroyed that fairy lair the McMahon family has had bad luck. The first sign of bad luck was when that tree fell on Addy's great grandfather, killing him instantly. Then Addy's great grandmother was wounded when she threw herself on her husband after she saw what had happened.

Want more proof that Addy is cursed? Addy's father died of cancer and now her mom's "g-ross" boyfriend Jonathan is moving into their guest bedroom. It must be the curse's fault why Addy can't get along with Jonathan... Right?

Addy is an aspiring author-illustrator. One day, after having a fight with her best friend Jackie, Addy creates a comic making fun of Jackie. Addy accidentally emails the comic to Jackie and to other kids in her school. Jackie is very hurt. She stops talking to Addy and then makes friends with Addy's archenemy Marsha! The curse has struck again! All of this can't be Addy's fault... Can it?

I really like how The Curse of Addy McMahon is an enjoyable and funny story driven by creative characters. Addy's father was a carpenter - a real craftsman - and Addy's mother is an artist. Jonathan is an award-winning journalist. Addy and her friends either write for or edit The Seely Times, the school newspaper. Addy is a very talented writer famous for her interviews in The Seely Times. She doesn't just list the questions and answers of an interview, she turns the interview into a story and illustrates it. In private, Addy keeps a journal unlike the typical sixth grader's journal. Addy keeps an autobiogra-strip: comics of her life story!

What I love about The Curse of Addy McMahon is the excellent character development. All the characters are very real but I really like Addy's character. Addy is likeable but very flawed, and she grows in the story. She's a really fleshed out round/dynamic character. Furthermore, The Curse of Addy McMahon is told from her point of view and readers are given the very authentic logic of a pre-teen girl.

I have this complaint though: I want more of the autobiogra-strip! Throughout the book readers are treated to a few sections of Addy's autobiogra-strip (written and illustrated by Katie Davis). These comics contribute to the expression of emotions in the story. They are fun to read and are what make the main character and the book unique. I wish many more parts of the autobiogra-strip had been shared.

If you want to read about a very real young protagonist and truly be taken into her mind, I recommend you read The Curse of Addy McMahon by Katie Davis. :o)

To find out more about The Curse of Addy McMahon, read my interview with author-illustrator Katie Davis! :o)

2 comments:

Isaac said...

I think this book will impart a good lesson to its readers. It's always easy for us to put the blame for our mistakes on other people or on circumstances, instead of taking responsibility for them. It's not just Addy who's guilty of this, but I think most of us are also "cursed" with it.

Tarie said...

Isaac, that is definitely something readers can get from this book! And it's really fascinating to be taken into Addy's heart, mind, and logic as she figures out that she needs to take responsibility for her mistakes.