Monday, October 7, 2013

Review: The Nine Lives of Alexander Baddenfield

The Nine Lives of Alexander Baddenfield
By John Bemelmans Marciano, illustrated by Sophie Blackall
Published 2013 by Viking Juvenile

The Baddenfields have a history of dying young. The current Baddenfield, Alexander, has no intention of following on that path. So, when he strikes a genius idea - transplant the extra lives from a cat into himself - he's found a way to a long life. Or has he?

I downloaded the e-galley of this because I'm still trying to get more middle-grade reads into my life. This one sounded like it could be darkly humorous and I really enjoy Blackall's illustrations. However, after finishing this book, I don't find I have much to say about it. I think it was supposed to be a black comedy sort of book; I just never found it as amusing as I wanted it to be. Additionally, I understand that readers are not really supposed to root for Alexander, but I continued to root against him even after he had his change of heart. I found some of the deaths a bit confusing - in fact, there was one instance that was not clear to me that he had actually died. I also feel like this book wants to say something about finding balance in one's life - don't do insanely dangerous things, but also don't hide yourself away in your room for all eternity - but I'm not sure it's entirely successful.

It's a very quick read - short chapters and just under 150 pages - but it was just a very strange read for me.

Thanks to the publisher for a digital advance reader's copy, provided via Edelweiss. As a note, the formatting of the e-ARC was very difficult to read, with some pages appearing out of order.

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