Lowry, Lois. 2008. The Willoughbys.
I honestly didn't know what to expect from this one. Would I love it? Would I like it? Would I "get" it? You see The Willoughbys is an old-fashioned story. It's very tongue-in-cheek. It's very funny. Very enjoyable. But it's just strange enough that it has the potential to either really charm you or really irritate you. So which would it do to me? That was the question. I knew some bloggers appreciated it. But I know that sometimes I can't help being contrary. Well, I'm glad to say that I did really enjoy this one. I don't know that it was L-O-V-E, sing a song, do a little happy dance good. But I really really enjoyed it. I did love it. (I just don't know if it will be one that will go on my love, love, love list.) It's Lois Lowry. Expectations are naturally high. But this one is unlike what Lowry I've read. It's not The Giver. It's not Number the Stars. It isn't Gossamer. It isn't Messenger. Or Gathering Blue. It's very unique. You'll just have to give it a try yourself because there is no way I can do it justice. Not really.
Once upon a time there was a family named Willoughby: an old-fashioned type of family, with four children. The eldest was a boy named Timothy; he was twelve. Barnaby and Barnaby were ten-year-old twins. No one could tell them apart, and it was even more confusing because they had the same name; so they were known as Barnaby A and Barnaby B. Most people, including their parents, shortened this to A and B, and many were unaware that the twins even had names. There was also a girl, a timid, pretty little thing with eyeglasses and bangs. She was the youngest, just six and a half, and her name was Jane. They lived in a tall, thin house in an ordinary city and they did the kinds of things that children in old-fashioned stories do. They went to school and to the seashore. They had birthday parties. Occasionally they were taken to the circus or the zoo, although they did not care much for either, excepting the elephants. Their father, an impatient and irascible man, went to work at a bank each day, carrying a briefcase and an umbrella even if it was not raining. Their mother, who was indolent and ill-tempered, did not go to work. Wearing a pearl necklace, she grudgingly prepared the meals. once she read a book but she found it distasteful because it contained adjectives. Occasionally she glanced at a magazine. (11-12)Quote is taken from an ARC, so it might not be true to the book in its published form.
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews