Wednesday 13 January 2010

3) The Stonewalkers by Vivien Alcock

Pages - 132

Published by Fontana Lions in 1982

Challenges - Take Another Chance Challenge.

First paragraph.

It was a summer of sudden thunder. The first storm came one Wednesday in July. Hot! It was the sort of day when the earth cracks, dogs run mad and even friends are best avoided. The sky which only half an hour ago had been a dry blue, now thickened with dark clouds. Soon it was going to rain very hard and anyone caught far from shelter would be soaked to the skin.

Poppy is a liar. She has always told lies and struggles to tell the truth, so why now would anyone believe her. Only she has seen the stone statue of Belladonna come to life and walk across the garden into the cellar. All the things Belladonna breaks are believed to be Poppy's fault and no one will believe it any other way.

Poppy locks Belladonna in the cellar, but she manages to escape, proceeding to find lots of other statues and bring them to life too. Poppy finally finds someone who believes her and Emma tries to help her reverse all the trouble caused.

I picked this one up for the Take Another Chance challenge as the first task required me to find my doppelganger; someone with the same name. Having a name like Vivienne, it isn't easy to find an author with a similar name; luckily I remembered reading The Haunting of Cassie Palmer last year, by Vivien Alcock, so I looked up her biography to find any other books she had written. One of my friends came to my rescue and happened to own this one, so I gave it a try.

I really enjoyed reading The Haunting of Cassie Palmer, but this book was a bit of a disappointment to me. I don't think it is necessarily the book's fault, I actually think my age is the problem. It is a children's book that doesn't really read well if you are an adult. Some books just don't cross over very well and this is one of them. I found the story very childish and also very dated.

I had no compassion for the main character Poppy, as from the start you are aware that all she does is tells lies, so it was impossible to warm to her. The way she spoke to the adults around her reminded me of the awful loudmouthed Tracy Beaker created by Jacqueline Wilson. She was even horrible to her new friend Emma, making me want to wash her mouth out with soap( my mother threatened me with that for years!).

There was a lack of description within the book, which left me feeling bored. The story should have been thrilling, instead it moved at snail speed, with an ending lacking any energy or belief.

I felt that the story could easily be revised and written for a young adult market, as I don't recall any books detailing statues coming to life.

I wondered if my children might enjoy it, but I really think the whole book would be too dated for them too. It had a real seventies feel to it. I had really wanted to enjoy it, but unfortunately it wasn't for me.

Another disappointing read within two days; don't you just hate that. Tomorrow I will review the book that saved my disappointing reading week. Saving CeeCee Honeycutt!


  1. Arrrrgh... I'm sorry this one didn't work for you too, Viv. :(

  2. I remember reading about this author in an encyclopaedia of children's lit and getting really curious. I think I'll start with The Haunting of Cassie Palmer, though!

  3. Alice - you can't like every writer or book, can you.

    Nymeth - The Haunting of Cassie Palmer was definitely the better to the two books and I would go with that one.

  4. That's too bad, it's no fun reading several books in a row that one doesn't enjoy. I hope you'll love the next book on your list, Vivienne!

  5. Vivienne, every time I come to your blog I want a cup cake LOL. I had a disappointing read this week as well. What makes it awful is that it was right on the back of 3 fantastic reads.

    I'll look forward to the next review!

  6. This sounds quite interesting. I do like deceptive characters because you never know if what you're reading is true or not. The best thing about first person narration is wondering how accurate it is. Have you ever read Atonement? The main girl character in that lives in her own fantasy world and doesn't understand what she sees so she ends up spinning lies too. With that book, though, you get to see the reality of what happened.

    Great review, Viv. :)

  7. Aw, glad this one didn't work out for you. I will try the Cassie Palmer book first and look forward to your CeeCee review!

  8. Thank you for your honest review, Vivienne. I look forward to your review of CeeCee Honeycutt. :-)

  9. I am so sorry you had a such a disappointing reading week--I do hate when that happens to me. CeeCee was a big bright spot in my reading week and I am glad to see it probably was for you too. Beth Hoffman is an author I will be watching out for in the future!

  10. Ladybug - my reading week did improve when I read Saving CeeCee Honeycutt.

    Alaine - I saw your disappointing read, it is such a shame it looked like such a good book.

    Ceri - I haven't read Atonement yet. I have it on my shelves. I am reluctant to read it as I didn't enjoy one of McEwan's other books 'Saturday'.

    Aarti - definitely read Cassie Palmer. I think it is a very typical British book set in the 80's.

    Suko - thankyou.

    Kim - CeeCee was definitely the highlight of my week.

  11. Oh don't you hate dissapointing books? I remember reading the book Made in the U.S.A. by Billie Letts, and the lead girl was a liar and annoying and it was so hard to follow her story. It did get better but those are hard characters for readers to like. Can't wait for your review of the CeeCee book...I've heard it is pretty good!

  12. i feel sad when i slog through a book that just wasn't worth it. glad you enjoyed ceecee, though. i also liked that book and reviewed it today! :)

  13. Well, at least your friend had it and you didn't have to pay for it. I hate when you have two bad reads in a row. I'm hoping things are looking up ... everyone seems to like CeeCee Honeycutt so I suspect you are in for a treat. Here's hoping your next book for the challenge works out better.


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