Thursday, 23 January 2014

BOOK REVIEW: The Name of This Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch

What a brilliant title and pseudonym! 

Ha, I've been intrigued by this book for years and have finally got round to reading it. (Thank you Amelie for lending it to me!)

Told in a similar way to Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, we are aware that the author, PB, is involved in the plot but we don't know how. 

Being a fan of all things cryptic it was fun to come across a secret message based on smell - The Symphony of Smells. (Ruby Redfort Catch Your Death also has smelly clues of course!) 

The book has a strong female protagonist, Cass, who forever carries a backpack stuffed full of items necessary for survival (see also Ruby Redfort!) and I really liked her side-kick Max Ernest who strays away from the 'normal' boy stereotype, though he is desperate to tell jokes which I'm sure many boys will resonate with. My two sons certainly devoured many joke books!

The story revolves around twins, Pietro and Luciano, for whom sounds, letters and numbers all have their own colours, and certain smells represent certain letters. It made me think what it would be like to have such a skill. Would it in fact be a terrible curse?

It certainly happens in real life. My window cleaner for example sees numbers as colours and can do any (complex) mathematical sum in seconds even though he has not got a clue how he does it. It just comes to him. 

Ohhh to have such a skill! 

Reading through the book I was torn between longing to have the ability to see colours every time I heard a sound and thinking it might be a nightmare. My head is confused enough most days! Though it might be fun to try it for a day or be able to turn it on and off. 

I think my only criticism of the book, and it is very minor, is that we are never really transported into what that world of sensory confusion might be like. I would have liked this to have been touched upon in Pietro's letter, possibly just a paragraph or a couple of sentences. 

But other than that I loved it and am very much looking forward to the next in the series IF YOU'RE READING THIS IT'S TOO LATE.

As to whom PB is, is still a mystery. He has been revealed to be Raphael Simon but there are many who think this too is a pseudonym. Will we ever know? And do we really want to?!

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