Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sammy Goes Surreal -- Go Sammy!

Has anyone else read the Swallows and Amazon series? Come to think of it, I should force them on my children. It's about a bunch of kids who have adventures during the holidays (not vacation; they are all British). Most of them are "real" in that the things that happen seem realistic if sometimes improbable, but a few are clearly fiction inside the fiction world, where the kids go off sailing around the world and meet pirates and such. It's a fun line -- all the books are fiction, but some are more fictional than others. Go read them all, by the way. Great stuff. Then you too can join in the fierce arguments about which books are fictional, and which are fictional fictional (metafictional?).

Anyway, as I dove into my latest Sammy Keyes and the Psycho Kitty Queen, I kept flashing back to the Missee Lee book, one which no one argues as being a real fiction. Although I think Wendelin Van Draanen considers this to be a real part of Sammy's life, and her relationship with her mother and Officier Borsch develops, the adventure keep pushing me into fictional fictional land. Or maybe I'm just getting old. I still enjoy Sammy's competence, and she clearly has an affinity for crime, but the villains and plots in this one were just too much to swallow. So, good stuff on Sammy's character, but I think I'll have a few beers if I ever reread the last few chapters. I can't recommend that technique to my kids, but then I suspect they don't have this curmudgeonly fixation on reality anyway.

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