This is the book that time and time again makes me want to be a writer. There’s something about the story that Alexander crafts… it certainly isn’t the main characters, for they are simple (as, in a children’s book, they should be). I think part of it is the history, and part of it is the magic. Alexander is known for his Black Cauldron series, but like any good writer, he continues to shine in other areas as well. Time Cat is no exception.
I think every child in the American school system has read this book. English teachers love it for its metaphors, and even the roughest students tolerate it for its charm. I last read this book in my tenth grade English Honors class, sitting at a table with two friends. Our teacher encouraged us to draw pictures of the things that stood out to us, and in that way, the book was made more accessible to us. I vividly remember my friends and I doodling Scout in her ham suit, and Dill with his duck-fluff hair (we were horrified that this failed to come through in the movie version).
I’m still wrapping my head around this book. It’s very detailed, incredibly well-researched. I’m impressed. It’s not the type of book where you feel good walking away from. The ending didn’t feel like an ending, more like an ending interrupted, but I think that is exactly what the writer (Marisha Pessl) intended.
For a book written during the Roman Empire, this particular translation of Tacitus isn’t that bad. The flow is relatively easy to work with, and it is constantly informative. Tacitus often reminds his readers that much of what he writes is what that people say, and he warns to be wary of rumours. Still, it gives some idea of culture. I read this book for a course on the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, and I found it to be the most enlightening book assigned.
I feel responsible to let it be known that I read books for characters. Mariotte’s novel is charming in a Young Adult Fantasy sort of way, making it an easy read. On the flip side, the characters are also relatively flat. Still, being the optimist I am, I found three characters to cling to. They are the characters of Daniel Blessing, Rebecca, and Josh.