Thursday, January 7, 2010
The Irresistible Henry House
I sometimes get advance copies of books to review, through the Early Reviewers program over at LibraryThing.
The books I've received this way were all pretty good and pretty much my style, but the one I read most recently was way beyond that - it was terrific. The Irresistible Henry House, by Lisa Grunwald and scheduled to be published in March, is a fantastic story that would appear to be totally whimsical and yet is based on a true practice: Henry is a "practice baby" supplied to a college home economics class by a local orphanage and raised by seven or so different "mothers" who are students in the course. As it turns out, the story is indeed irresistible - Henry is compelling, his life story is fascinating, and the historical background of the 1940s-1970s in which the book takes place is brightly illuminated. Many small differences between daily life then and now added a fascinating sepia-tint to the landscape of the story, and the novelty of now-common icons of popular culture (some new thing Disney is working on down in Florida? some movie that new band the Beatles are making?) brought the era to life in a wonderful way, especially to someone who didn't live through it. (And I'm pretty sure anyone who did live through it will love the nostalgia of this recent history also.)
I recommend it.