Can't Stop Reading

Lucky for me I get a hefty discount at work, because I just can't seem to stop myself!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Now I know I just talked about Sarah Ellis' The Queen's Feet not too long ago, but I was digging through the shelves yesterday and I found her Several Lives of Orphan Jack, and I thought, hey, I haven't read this! I suspect because it came out back in 2003 and I was busy reading about Canadian foreign policy, and the importance of church pews in 16th century England that year.

So I picked it up and gave it a read through. I'm going to try really hard here not to be gushy. This book was so good. Jack (also known as Otherjack) lives at an orphanage, where he spends most of his time learning from Little Truths for the Instruction of Boys, and his free time reading the dictionary (missing the entries for letters A and B) that was his Christmas present a few years back.

Now that Otherjack is twelve, he's assigned an apprenticeship as a bookkeeper, which he imagines involves keeping books safe. Well, it turns out that he's not so great at what bookkeeping actually entails, and he decides (with some advice from his stomach. No, really) there's nothing for it but to run away. He drops the "other" and goes back to being Jack and runs off to sea. Though he does make it to a town on the water, he never makes it to sea, at least not in this book (please Sarah Ellis, I desperately need more Jack in my life!).

In Aberbog, the staid town where fetches up, Jack decides to sell whims, thoughts, concepts, plans, opinions, impressions, notions and fancies in order to feed himself (and his rather opinionated stomach). Well the potato-faced mayor has something to say about that, and plans to have Jack arrested. Thankfully, the good citizens of Aberbog have had their minds opened by Jack and help him escape to safety.

There isn't really a plot to this book, which I'm normally not a big fan of. But Ellis' hilarious prose more than makes up for it. I was trying to decide what bit of the book I wanted to quote, and I realized that I couldn't choose. The whole thing makes me wish I had someone here with me, so I could tell them, listen, listen! And then read them the whole book. In other words, go out and get this one, right now!

The Several Lives of Orphan Jack written by Sarah Ellis illustrated by Bruno St-Aubin
ISBN 0888996187
84 pages


  • At 9:59 AM, Anonymous Maggie said…

    I'm really enjoying you and your mom's blogs! I've worked in a book store for the past 12 years. It just went out of business in February. So your blogs are helping to keep me up-to-date on what's current and good to read! Thanks! :D


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