A twelve year old protagonist with an ostensibly inflated self-image despite her rather lowly birth and position characterize the story of Anyone But Ivy Pocket. The first in what appears to be a series of stories that follow Ivy through mystery and adventures.
I’m rather torn about this story, while it was difficult to put down because I needed to know just what will happen next, Ivy herself is a bit of a difficult pill to swallow. I can’t decide if this is a satirical take on an “Amelia Bedelia” type of character or a serious entrant into creating a new archetype for the pre-teen heroine. I’m hoping this is an early introduction to satire and using an extreme example of character in caricature-like ways to tell a story.
Ivy has a very large ego: she is highly imaginative and doesn’t have the capacity to distinguish truth from lies. That unfortunately leads her into huge flights of fancy or great detailed lies, depending on the viewpoint you wish to attach. While working as a lady’s maid at 12 is not an easy life, Ivy’s temperament is nasty- she’s rude, judgmental, prone to name-calling and completely without a filter. On the flip side, the adults who deal with her are just as rude and uncaring, many with deep secrets and mysteries that surround them.
And this is where my problems with this story began. I didn’t like Ivy, I couldn’t reconcile her repeated bad behavior and lack of growth or learning from her mistakes throughout the story with a character that I wanted to read more about. But I couldn’t stop reading: the humor is most definitely juvenile, a small step up from bathroom funnies, but the mystery and intrigue that are woven through the story is gripping, and draws you in.
Words are repeated often, sometimes serving only to dull the impact and import of the words: monstrously is used so frequently as an adjective to dull its effect – nothing is monstrous if everything is. As the writing and plotting are so very clever and intriguing, I’ve decided that this is a first introduction to satire for middle grade readers: over the top in a Monty Python-esque way, with one catastrophe after another, some funny in their pure moments of ridiculous. Ivy is difficult and doesn’t grow or learn from her mistakes, but sometimes we all need a few lessons to really change.
Title: Anyone but Ivy Pocket
Author: Caleb Krisp
Series: Ivy Pocket #1
Genre: Children's Literature
Published by: Bloomsbury Publishing
Published on: 9 April, 2015
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
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Ivy Pocket is a twelve-year-old maid of no importance, with a very lofty opinion of herself. Dumped in Paris by the Countess Carbunkle, who would rather run away to South America than continue in Ivy's companionship, our young heroine (of sorts) finds herself with no money and no home to go to ... until she is summoned to the bedside of the dying Duchess of Trinity.
For the princely sum of £500 (enough to buy a carriage, and possibly a monkey), Ivy agrees to courier the Duchess's most precious possession – the Clock Diamond – to England, and to put it around the neck of the revolting Matilda Butterfield on her twelfth birthday. It's not long before Ivy finds herself at the heart of a conspiracy involving mischief, mayhem and murder.
Illustrated in humorous gothic detail by Iacopo Bruno, Anyone But Ivy Pocket is just the beginning of one girl's deadly comic journey to discover who she really is ...
See the Ivy Pocket Series on GoodReads
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher Via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.