The Illustrated Child by Polly Crosby – Book Review
Title: The Illustrated Child
Author: Polly Crosby
Price: Rs 226
Link To Purchase: The Illustrated Child
Synopsis: Romilly lives in a ramshackle house with her eccentric artist father and her cat, Monty. She knows little about her past – but she knows that she is loved.
When her father finds fame with a series of children’s books starring her as the main character, everything changes: exotic foods appear on the table, her father appears on TV, and strangers appear at their door, convinced the books contain a treasure hunt leading to a glittering prize.
But as time passes, Romilly’s father becomes increasingly suspicious of everything around him, until, before her eyes, he begins to disappear altogether.
In her increasingly isolated world, Romilly turns to the secrets her father has hidden in his illustrated books, realising that there is something far darker and more devastating locked within the pages…
The illustrated child is Polly Crosby’s debut book. I found some positives and several negatives in the book. I will mention the positives first. The book is written in a spooky undertone and this keeps us turning the pages continuously. It describes the events that occur during the growing phase of a child from the tender age of nine to a mature sixteen.
The book describes the events in a really haunting manner as the child slowly matures into an adolescent girl. This is rather exhilarating to read. The caliber of the descriptive writing you will find in this book is excellent. The role played by Stacey who is a friend of the protagonist Romilly also grabs your interest. Romilly’s father’s role is also described in a very touching manner. Same with mother Meg and Grandmother Beatrice.
Next I will take a brief look at the negatives in the book. The book is divided into four parts and is 403 pages long. Crosby builds suspense in each part of the book and the conclusion in these parts, contribute to the final climax of the book in part 4. In each part of the book the suspense built makes us hope for some revelation that will stun us. But when the reader finally finds out what it is all about, it comes across as something extremely disappointing. The climax simply falls flat and one starts wondering whether it was necessary to create such a hoo-hah about it.
I mean if an author builds suspense over several pages, the climax should be something substantial to merit such a powerful buildup. Instead when we are told what it was all about at the end of each part of the book, you start wondering if such a big build up was necessary to reveal so simple a fact. The book rambles on for 403 pages and at some places it is pretty confusing. But I liked the final ending somewhat and that salvages some of the earlier mess.
Conclusion: You can read this book if you are interested in quaint descriptions of the growing phase of a child. You may also enjoy the haunting language and mystery. But I would like to warn you that it is quite a long book at 403 pages and there is a chance that you may get bored.
Rating: I am going with 3/5 for Polly Crosby’s ‘The Illustrated Child’. I have cut off 2 points for the lack of depth in the story even though the ending salvages things a bit.
This review has been written as part of Blogchatter’s Book Review Program.