Welcome back to my Friday blog series where I review a kidlit book I've recently read and enjoyed. Today I review Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. Here's what I thought of it:
As A Reader: I had high hopes for this book, as it came highly recommended and the premise is so exciting: characters from stories come popping out of books and into our world when read aloud by people with a special magical gift. While I was engaged just enough to continue reading to the end, I was not wowed by it. There was so much promise, but I began to notice a sense of being vaguely disappointed when the interesting developments and themes I thought I could see coming never really materialized.
As A Mom: I will not be recommending this book to my daughter for several reasons. First, I simply didn't enjoy it enough to ask her to make her way through this thick tome, particularly since she has so many other great books waiting already on her nightstand stack. Second, I did not like how the women in this story were portrayed. They were meek and passive, and shown in very old fashioned and stereotypical roles such as cleaning and cooking, while the men were either violent brutes or clever and crafty spies and thieves. It did not feel at all contemporary even though the book is supposedly set in current times. And finally, there are a few veiled references to sexual slavery which felt inappropriate in a book for kids.
As A Writer: Cornelia Funke's language was beautiful, and her descriptions were vivid. However, this book reminds me that strong plot developments and character arcs are so much more important to me as a reader and a writer than beautifully crafted sentences. It would be lovely to achieve both, of course, but the more important in my view, particularly when trying to engage young or reluctant readers, is the former.