- Fizzy Thoughts: Madapple

Madapple

Wednesday, April 08, 2009



Madapple
Christina Meldrum
May 2008
410 pages

First, the cover. I love this cover. I think it is a perfect representation of Aslaug (the main character), and the events at the beginning of the book, and the whole mood of the book. It's just perfect, in a creepy kind of way.

Second, the book. I loved it, too. It was so much more than I expected. In fact, the whole second half of the book was a big surprise, in a "I really wasn't expecting that" kind of way.

Third, the story:

Aslaug is a young girl raised in almost near isolation by her mother, Maren. Maren has taught her daughter about botany and languages, but has also severely limited her exposure to society and most other areas of learning. They live on the outskirts of a town in Maine, in a cabin with no electricity. Aslaug dreams of escape, but is also devoted to her emotionally abusive mother. When her mother dies, Aslaug is forced to interact with society and find her way in a world she knows almost nothing about.

There is way more to the story than that. But talking about it would ruin the story, although the secrets are divulged through the book, as the story is told alternately from Aslaug's point of view, and the testimony of witnesses at a trial. There is no grand revelation at the end, but the book takes some unexpected twists, and delves into the realms of religion, and family, and reality.

Although marketed as a book for young adults, I think this book is incredibly sophisticated. In fact, I think it would make for an excellent book club discussion, since the familial relationships are just whacked. It also includes some pretty interesting information on religion...ancient religions, ancient Christianity and modern Christianity, as well as ideas around virgin births. Plus, there are a lot of fascinating botanical facts (and wow...there are three words I never expected to string together). For example, the title, Madapple, is another name for the poisonous plant and hallucinogen jimsonweed, which plays a key role in the book.

I know this book made the rounds last year, but if you missed it and were at all interested in reading it, I'd really encourage you to give it a chance. I'd offer to send you my copy, but I don't think my library would appreciate it.

20 comment(s):

Beth F said...

I love the cover too! Sounds really interesting and I missed it the first time around.

Jo-Jo said...

This one is new to me and it sounds like a great read! Thanks for sharing the review.

J.S. Peyton said...

I definitely missed this when it made the rounds last year. It sounds pretty good and the cover is pretty great. Here's another one for my TBR list. It never ends, does it? = )

Dar said...

I've never heard of this book but it certainly sounds like something I would like. That cover is amazing-it just completely drew me in. Dark and creepy-perfect.

charley said...

I would like to read this. I like the cover, too.

Joanne said...

Glad to hear you liked it, I've had it on my list since first hearing about it. I agree the cover is amazing!

Ti said...

Another book that I've never heard of! I love the cover. It's so mysterious. The story sounds a bit different too. I like different :)

Chris said...

I'm so glad you loved it :D I did too and it's still one of my favorite covers! I think this one is either a love it or hate it book. I'm definitely on the love side.

Nymeth said...

This does sound awesome! I've been wanting to read it since last year but I'd kind of forgotten about it. So thanks for the reminder.

Literary Feline said...

This is one that is on my wish list. You're review reminded me why I wanted to read it in the first place.

Pam said...

I've added this to my list, it sounds really good!

softdrink said...

Chris, I can't imagine not loving it! It's definitely my kind of book.

Nymeth, I can't believe you haven't read it. For some reason, I would've thought you had.

All of the rest of you - I feel like such a book pusher. :-D

Wrighty said...

I never heard of this either. So glad you posted it because I'll be looking for it now. LOVE the cover!

Kristi said...

Before I even started reading your review - I thought - Cool cover! Then saw that you agreed! It does sound like a good book - and you have me intrigued with the whole - part of the story told by witnesses at the trial. I will be adding it to my TBR pile!

Ladytink_534 said...

Love this cover too, I hope to read this one eventually.

Ali said...

Glad you loved it! I agree with Chris that it's a love it or hate it book--I hated it. Hated the cover as well (though I do agree the cover is perfect for the tone of the book). :-) I'm definitely interested to see what the author writes next, because the writing was beautiful and the storyline was creative. (If only it weren't for the structure, and the characters, and the ambience...)

I don't really get why this was marketed as YA. It was one of the books in the Mock Printz workshop I did in the fall and many adults loved it but none of the teens did.

softdrink said...

Ali - I don't see it as a YA book, either. Same with The Book Thief, which I finished last week. And Octavian Nothing...all Printz books.

Ramya said...

I hadn't heard of this book but the cover definitely caught my eye now! And your description of the book sounds good too! I am adding this to my "to-Read-Sometime" list!:)

Amy said...

ha, I forgot about this book, but I do want to read it. Perfect example of why we need to review more than new releases. :)

chartroose said...

Okay, this will go on my TBR list.

In a real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. ~S.I. Hayakawa

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
~Mark Twain

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