Saturday, 24 January 2015

A Boy Called M.O.U.S.E by Penny Dolan - reviewed by Susan Price

          I’m a member of the Scattered Authors’ Society and a few years ago, at Charney, the SAS’s annual retreat, I heard Penny Dolan read from her then Work In Progress.  It was an account of an exhausted boy being driven and harangued on a long walk through a storm, and it was thrilling.  Penny is an expert storyteller and reader, and her writing and reading combined was mesmeric.  I’ve never forgotten it.
          I kept meaning to read the finished, published book, A Boy Called M.O.U.S.E, but you know how it is – work and stuff kept getting in the way.
          But finally I have, and how glad I am I did.  The whole book is as mesmeric as that short reading.
          It’s a richly emotional, detailed, vivid romp of a tale, told in beautiful, rhythmic prose.  The good characters are appealing and loveable, the villains wonderfully hissable, but every character is distinct and memorable.
          The plot is of lost heirs, lost children, lost mothers; of schemes and stragems for a fortune, all of it brought to life by Penny’s swift vivid descriptions, and her great sympathy and understanding.  Mouse’s suffering at his dreadful school is real, his longing for his lost mother is real, and his joy in the friends he finds is real too.  The bitter schoolmaster, his bullying son, the old Punch and Judy man and his little dog, the theatre people – they all contribute to making this a lovely, lovely book, one to read and re-read, to read aloud, and to revel in.
Penny Dolan
          Nor, though it’s published as a children’s book, is its appeal limited to children.  Children will enjoy it; but I thoroughly enjoyed it too, and it’s been a long time since I was a child.
    
          A Boy Called M.O.U.S.E. at Amazon...
          And on kindle...
         And Penny's Amazon Author Page