Monday, December 12, 2011

The Wikkeling by Steven Arntson

Henrietta lives in a society where everything is determined for you and children are protected from the simplest things. When they exercise in school, they do one jumping jack to keep themselves from overexerting. Their entire day at school is spent answering questions on a computer in order to prepare for the tests which determine whether you get to move on or become a garbage collector. Henrietta is not very good at school and she also suffers from terrible headaches on occasion which her parents believe are caused by the fact that they live in an old house with wood rather than a new synthetic one. Things change for Henrietta with three different events. First, her grandfather shows her an old book - printed on paper! - full of unusual animals. Shortly after receiving the book, Henrietta discovers that a wild house cat has moved into her attic. Finally, she makes two new friends who also suffer from headaches. Together, they determine that their headaches are actually caused by a strange creature called the Wikkeling, which only they can see. This is a creepy book but not the good kind of creepy. It also just crawls along reveling in the strangeness of society without really expounding on what exactly is happening. Too many happenings in too many directions for me.

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