I had read Tamar by Mal Peet, and I loved the story. When I saw this book show up on our review list, I was glad that I could review it, thinking that it would be as good as the one I had read. I was VERY wrong. I read the entire thing, hoping against hope, that I would find something to like about it. The only thing I can say is that it was the biggest piece of twaddle I have ever read.
The main character is a writer of sentimental coming-of-age books for boys. His agent convinces him that he needs to write a fantasy, because “fantasy sells.” He can’t bring himself to do it, but in a very Faustian move, he does sell his soul to a “greme” named Pocket Wellfair, who actually writes a fantasy for him. After he becomes a sensation in the fantasy market, his agent tells him that he has to expand his work into a trilogy. Many unbelievable things occur between the writing of the first book and that of the third book – one of which is that he goes off to an island in the Mediterranean to avoid having to write the thing at all.
I totally get it that Peet is thumbing his nose at writers who are looking out for their own “pocket wellfair.” I do know that he thinks that writers who write to please their agents – no matter how pleasing or pretty those agents might be – will not be happy nor successful in the long run. Hats off to Peet for that.
However, the book is loaded with so many British phrases and phonetic pronunciations that no high school student will ever take time to read it. I’m not sure that many adult readers in the U.S. would choose to read it. There is no way I could ever recommend the expenditure of limited library funds for this.