Addison Addley and the Trick of the Eye (2009), by Melody DeFields McMillan

This review was first published in Resource Links Magazine, “Canada’s national journal devoted to the review and evaluation of Canadian English and French resources for children and young adults.” It appears in volume 15.3.

Addison Addley and the Trick of the Eye

Maybe it’s just my maternal self over-powering my critical persona, but I prefer my protagonists—however young—to have a little respect for those around them.  Addison Addley has a sarcastic humour that gleans its power from insulting others, and impressing upon the reader his own superiority, despite that his friend, Sam, is the intelligent one: “Sam was squinting at the house.  I guess that made him think better. … The only good thing I could say about Trent was that his hair wasn’t as puffy as Tiffany’s.  Her head looks like a lampshade, and sometimes her face gets as red and shiny as a Christmas-tree bulb.  That’s why I call her The Lamp.  Tiffany always tries to annoy me.  She doesn’t have to try very hard, though …” (22).  Granted the ideas and even the ways of expressing them seem authentic to the 11-year-old boy, but the combination of complaining tone and arrogance really did not endear the protagonist to me…
Not wanting to condemn a book without more expert appraisal, I gave it to my son (12) and daughter (11).  He didn’t finish it—although he liked the main character, which rather put me in my place—because “nothing happened” in the first five chapters; she wouldn’t read it because she “didn’t like the character; he was rude.”  Neither child finished the novel, which does get interesting and engaging a little later…
I rather thought that the action was moderate but engaging; my only problem was in narrative attitude… but that didn’t seem to bother the readers for whom the text was intended: young boys. I must conclude, therefore, that Addison Addley seems to hit the mark for its readers, despite my parental objection to the “attitude” its protagonist projects.

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