Friday, August 8, 2014

Review: The Categorical Universe of Candice Phee by Barry Jonsberg

The Categorical Universe of Candice Phee

By Barry Jonsberg

Blurb: This isn't just about me. It's also about the other people in my life - my mother, my father, my dead sister Sky, my penpal Denille, Rich Uncle Brian, Earth-Pig Fish and Douglas Benson From Another Dimension. These are people [with the exception of Earth-Pig Fish, who is a fish] who have shaped me, made me what I am. I cannot recount my life without recounting elements of theirs. This is a big task, but I am confident I am up to it.
Introducing Candice Phee: twelve years old, hilariously honest and a little ... odd. But she has a big heart, the very best of intentions and an unwavering determination to ensure everyone is happy. So she sets about trying to 'fix' all the problems of all the people [and pets] in her life.

Genres: Juvenile Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Humor

Publication Date: September 9, 2014

Pages: 176

My Rating: 3.5 stars
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Candice Phee; even her name sounds adorably quirky. If I could only use two words to describe what I most liked about this book, they would be Candice Phee. Thank goodness I can use more than two words so I can describe to you why this character is so delightful.

First, Candice is different. She knows full well that she is different than her other classmates. However, she isn't moody or sad about being the odd one out, and she isn't completely without a care about it either. I had never read a book where a character approached not being like everyone else in the same way as Candice did.

Candice is insightful even when she is not trying to be. There were things that she said in the book that were rather profound, and yet she wasn't a 'wise old owl' sort of character. She was simply a girl with a unique view of the world.

Her life story is not necessarily a happy one. Her home life is less than ideal, and how she tries to go about fixing it is both funny and sad at the same time. Funny, because Candice's methods are unorthodox to say the least an sometimes go haywire, and sad because this little girl feels that her family is so dysfunctional that she has to take it upon herself to fix it.

What I did not like about the book was the way it was organized. Sometimes, books told in the forms of essays work. Sometimes, not so much. In this book, I believe that the story would have been better without it being told through Candice's ABC assignment. I felt that at times the story did not flow as well as it should have.

Still, Candice Phee stole my heart. The Categorical Universe of Candice Phee was a heartwarming middle grade read. It had some structure issues, but in the long run, the protagonist made this book worthwhile.

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