It was as black in the closet as old blood. They had shoved me in and locked the door. I breathed heavily though my nose, fighting desperately to remain calm. I tried counting to ten on every intake of breath, and to eight as I released each one slowly into the darkness. Luckily for me, they had pulled the gag so tightly into my open mouth that my nostrils were left unobstructed, and I was able to draw in one slow lungful after another of the stale, musty air. (Alan Bradley, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, page 1)
I’m not sure who recommended this book, or even why, but in our ever constant search for our Novel Three next monthly review, we stumbled across this gem. While reading The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley I was caught up in a delightful world of youth, science and mystery.
The Book at a Glance:
- Title:The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
- Author: Alan Bradley
- POV: First Person, Past Tense
- Genre: Mystery
- Theme(s): Family
- Setting: English village of Bishop’s Lacy
- Single word descriptor: Charming
Flavia de Luce spends much of her time in her laboratory, riding her bicycle lovingly named Gladys, and tormenting her equally provoking sisters. In a family still on the odds with the death of a wife and mother from several years before, Flavia is the youngest of three girls and doesn’t process the world like any normal eleven-year-old. Sharp, witty and ever searching for greater understanding, this future chemist is beyond her years and time.
When a dead man shows up in her cucumber patch, the same man she had overheard arguing with her father the previous night, Flavia sets out to find the truth before the detectives of the case can pin the murder on her father, or worse, on her.
My Favorite Part:
I don’t think I had just ONE favorite part. Without giving any spoil-alerts, I will just say that Flavia is a joy to read. I loved her witty comments, and the back-and-forth with her sisters had me smiling throughout the entire novel.
My Least Favorite Part:
I found that the author would go off into information dumps where they weren’t necessary (and they say women authors are wordier than men—well not in this case)! This was often done to show that flighty mind of an eleven-year-old, but sometimes it was just plain too much. Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend this book to everyone!
I absolutely love Flavia’s voice: she gravitates towards the macabre, and her narrative reflects this beautifully. She describes her world in relation to poisons and mushrooms and every sinister thing you would never expect from an 11-year-old, and somehow maintains her childish whimsy. The plot has its cliché moments, but Flavia’s personality shines through.
Rivoting and hysterical all at once, I loved this book. Flavia is hilarious. I wish I had as much composure and she does in the face of a corpse. I was laughing. Alot. And impressed by how it came together.