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Friday, March 20, 2009

Playing With the Grown-ups by Sophie Dahl

Playing with the Grown-ups
Publisher: Anchor
Pages: 288 pgs
Genre: Young Adult
Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge, 20 in 2009

Summary (from Publisher):
Kitty loves living at the isolated Hay House with her doting grandparents, but it cannot provide the adventure and excitement that her restless, bohemian mother Marina craves. When a guru sees Marina's future in New York, Kitty is torn from her home and bounced from place to place—first a colorless boarding school, then an American ashram, and finally back to an unfamiliar England. But soon, no god, man, or martini can staunch Marina's hunger for a happiness that proves all too elusive. And Kitty, turning fifteen, must choose: whether to play dangerous games with the grown-ups or put herself first.

With this witty and poignant debut novel, Sophie Dahl ably carries on the literary legacy of her grandfather, the beloved children's book author Roald Dahl. 

My Review:
 Playing With the Grown-ups tells the story of Kitty who is growing up with a troubled family. Most of the family’s trouble’s center around her rather flighty mother, Marina. Her mother is the source of all of Kitty’s trials. From joining a cult to experimenting with drugs—all her behavior clearly mirrors the more seriously troubled behavior of her mother. Her mother is too self-centered and selfish to pay any real attention to Kitty and Kitty desperately craves her mother’s love. The story begins with Kitty being phoned in the middle of the night with the information that something has happened to her mother and follows her through her reminisces about her adolescence.

I was really entertained by this book. I loved Kitty. I wanted to give her my mother for a week. My mother has an over-abundance of affection that I would love to rent out to anyone who needs it and Kitty definitely needs it. As much as I loved Kitty, I wanted to strangle Marina. How selfish can one person be? People like Marina should not be allowed to reproduce. Kitty would have been much better of in Hay with Bestemama and Bestepapa. I was a bit disappointed that they did not play a bigger role in the novel. But then again, if they did, Kitty would not have had much of a story. I thought this book was dark in the right places and funny in others. The writing was effective as it was able to bring out some intense feeling in me. I did feel, however, that the ending was a bit unsatisfying. It was obvious where the book was going to end up but I wanted to see how Kitty got there. I wanted to meet the man she married, know how she met him and how she redeemed herself from her previous downward spiral. That perhaps is the stuff of a longer novel.

Sophie Dahl is a very talented writer and I look forward to her future novels.

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review. My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the blog.


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