Review: The Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter
Source: Paperback, Published December 20th 2011 by Square Fish
Verdict: Very Good
Life in a small town can be pretty boring when everyone avoids you like the plague. But after their father unwittingly sends them to stay with an aunt who’s away on holiday, the Hardscrabble children take off on an adventure that begins in the seedy streets of London and ends in a peculiar sea village where, according to legend, a monstrous half-beast boy roams the woods. . . .
In this wickedly dark, unusual, and compelling novel, Ellen Potter masterfully tells the tale of one deliciously strange family and a secret that changes everything.
The Kneebone Boy is so delightfully strange, melancholy and funny. The writing and atmospheric tendency in this novel has been likened to that of Lemony Snicket; I would also liken it to and suggest it for readers (and fans) of Enid Blyton, Lauren Child, Norton Juster, J.K. Rowling, Roald Dahl, Maurice Sendak, and Neil Gaiman.
This is the story of the three Hardscrabble children, Lucia (not pronounced as Lucy-a), Max, and Otto (who no longer speaks and always wears a scarf). Viewed as very strange by their small village, they have grown up with an oft-gone father, and a long-gone mother. Their father never speaks about their mother, and the children do not know whether she has died or just left. A terrible rumour in their town whispers that Otto, the oldest and most peculiar of the Hardscrabble children, strangled Tess Hardscrabble with his scarf.
When sudden and confusing circumstance (and lack of planning by their father) leads them to London, the three children set about on an adventure to uncover mysteries about their family and their mother. I don’t want to say too much about what follows, because it is just so unexpected, unusual (and also very touching). While I thought the ending was rather too abrupt and wound together too quickly for my liking, I was overall charmed and moved by this story.
Note: This review, written by me, originally appeared on Fabbity Fab Book Reviews. Minor edits may have been made.