105 Ways to Give a Book

The Fifth Dentist Caves

When Chasing Vermeer, by Blue Balliett, came out, I picked it up, but just didn’t get around to reading it. Suddenly all the kidslit people were reading it, and I had missed the boat. What was the point of reading it, if it was going to be recommended by everyone and her, uh, dentist? I might as well read something new that no one was reading, like The Penderwicks, which went on to win the National Book Award. So, while four out of five librarians recommend Chasing Vermeer for their patrons who read mysteries, I had to pass.

The Wright 3Then, a chance for redemption when The Wright 3, the sequel to Chasing Vermeer, crossed my desk. I could have boycotted this book too, since everyone else will read it, but instead found a chance to review it before everyone else. Well, everyone except the people who get it before it is published. You know, important people.

And here’s where I cave — a little. I liked The Wright 3 in that the pacing kept me moving along, the interaction among the friends was realistic, and the references to the life and works of F.L. Wright were interesting to me. Solving the mystery in this book, however, relies an awful lot on “mysterious coincidences,” which seems a little sloppy. I mean, I also could solve the greatest crimes of the century if someone was handing me clues. Also, there is an entire theme in this book about The Invisible Man, the book as well as related material, that is never fully realized. Kids will probably love The Wright 3, and won’t mind the flaws, so what does it matter what little old me thinks about it anyway?

Oh, and back to an old non-favorite, I am clearly the Fifth Dentist who can’t recommend The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. The reviewers like it (mostly), the other kidslit blogs like it (mostly), and the parents like it (mostly). But I will not cave on this one, I still think it is a bad, depressing book. For the other point of view — because I am nothing if not fair — check out the Bookshelves of Doom today. Or check out the reviews at Amazon. Or ask any Kate DiCamillo fan. Or... oh I give up.

By the way, “The Fifth Dentist” — Book title or Blog title? Race Horse or Rock Band?


fusenumber8 said...

Fifth Dentist: Television series drama that has nothing to do with dentristy. I see it as a kind of "Lost" tale with a smattering of "X-Files" tossed in for flavor.

MotherReader said...

Fifth Dentist: Club of the voice of reason on bad books that are widely (and wrongly) loved. Maybe I should get your opinion on The Lovely Bones, Fusenumber8.

Liz B said...

I am the only one who thinks it a bit odd that the second book has the number 3 in it? And the "coincidences" played a big role in CV, as I recall (with a hint that there is no such thing as coincidence). I like my mysteries where its the kid finds the clue rather than the clue finds the kid.

fusenumber8 said...

Oh amen to that. I reviewed "Wright 3" on Amazon and I'm shocked that it hasn't been torn to shreds by Balliett-lovers. It never even hit me that the 3 on the cover might be confusing. Perhaps a third book will never appear and it won't be a problem (hint hint)? And unfortunately I've never read "The Lovely Bones". If I were a YA librarian I would in a second. But I'm not so hot at reading adult titles adopted by teens and tweens. Hence my not getting around to "A Child Called It" as well.