Monday, 4 July 2011
Caddy's World by Hilary McKay
I picked this one of the shelf with some trepidation, I love Hilary McKay's books, and have done for years. Even before the delightful Casson family books there was the Exiles series - what reader wouldn't sympathise with the Conroy sisters when they are sent to stay with Big Grandma and forbidden to read?
Then there was the sequel to A Little Princess, which I blogged about here.
I wasn't a fan and so on learning that Caddy's World was going to be a prequel to the Casson family saga I was nervous.
In the main I shouldn't have been, the book did fit in with the other stories quite well and it is obvious that McKay is happier writing about younger teenagers, Caddy and her friends feel much more realistic than Caddy does later on as an almost adult. The review I found here sums up 95% of my feelings about the book.
There was just one thing that threw me out of the book. The book is supposed to be set in 1996, in the epilogue Rose finds a picture from the time of the book and it is dated 1996 so this is an author stated fact and not a fan doing sums, but in the book Indigo has already been called "the next Harry Potter" in a newspaper article.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone wasn't published until 1997 and the hype and general media interest in the books didn't begin for at least 18 months after that.
I am sure that I am being hyper critical with this but after having gone to so much trouble to make all of the chronology fit, and to set a book that did really feel as if it was the first in the series and not a later fill-in this fact that could so easily have been checked spoiled the read for me.
I did enjoy the book, it has (mostly) restored my faith in an author I've loved for years and I am sure that nobody else will be upset by the too early reference to Potter.
I just have a bit of a 'thing' for accuracy in books - whether it is getting the date wrong in a children's historical book (one I read put the Dunkirk evacuations in 1941) or using old / wrongly labelled photos in a space reference book (the external tank was only white for 2 missions the other 133 flights have had orange tanks so why did a book published 4 years ago have the wrong picture...)
Rant over. It is a good book, a great story and the characters all really came alive. Now I've got to hunt out all of the Exile books and the rest of the Casson books and have a serious re-read...I might be some time!