Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell

Don't read this book if you are hungry. The descriptions of food and images had me drooling. Most of the time. The cooked rat didn't sound good. Katherine Rundell is a good writer creating a world where an eccentric bachelor, Charles Maxim, raises an eccentric orphan girl, Sophie. Both are survivors of a shipwreck that left baby Sophie floating in a cello case with no identification. Charles takes her in and their unconventional lifestyle involves her wearing pants, eating dinner off books, writing on walls, and climbing roofs. Charles heart is in the right place but the National Childcare Agency doesn't think so. They believe Sophie is too wild and a man raising a teenage girl is not right. When they threaten to put her in an orphanage the two seek out her birth mother. With the help of the orphan, Matteo, Sophie has all sorts of rooftop adventures before solving the mystery of the shipwreck.

The plot doesn't answer all the questions about Sophie's mom and the shipwreck. I wonder if there will be a second book. While some of the adventures are completely unbelievable, they are quite fun. It's always fun pretending you are an amazing acrobat that can pick up skills after one lesson. (I fantasize about learning a language in one lesson.) Charles lets Sophie be herself and does not force her to conform to society. She develops into a strong girl that knows right from wrong and is fiercely independent. He explains his unique parenting skills to the childcare representatives, but they are too narrow-minded to recognize that he is a good parent in the areas that matter.

The scene with the government official that won't give Charle's public information shows that he has a backbone too. It is easy to see how Sophie got hers. The start is a bit slow as the relationship between Sophie and Charles is established. The pace picks up when she starts having adventures with Matteo. A fun romp for the patient reader that likes fantasy and a Dickens-like setting.

3 Smileys

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