Awful Auntie Book Review : A cute and extremely entertaining Read.
David Walliams is a writer who writes very child-like books for children, mostly with illustrations. He made Raj familiar with his readers through “The Boy in the Dress“, “Mr. Stink“, “Billionaire Boy”, “Gangsta Granny”, “Ratburger”and “Demon Dentist”. He also has published Picture Books, “The Slightly Annoying Elephant” and “The First Hippo on the Moon”.
He comes out with “Awful Auntie” with illustrations by Tony Ross. Right from the “Thankses” David Walliams doesn’t spare anyone including his protagonist Stella to himself with his wicked humor. As wicked as his antagonist Aunt Alberta. Starting with illustrations of the location of the story, the Saxby Hall and descriptions of each and every character through illustrations, the book gets wilder, whackier and often immensely rib-tickling.
The story in a nutshell is about a pre-teen inheritor of a large Mansion, the Saxby Hall. Lady Stella Saxby is being held captive by her Awful Aunt Alberta. Why is she held captive ? How does the girl save herself and the deliciously imaginative ‘help’ she gets in her escape is what forms a un-put-downable story. Illustrations by Tony Ross are as humorous as the narration and make it a smooth flowing experience.
Mr. Walliams allows his imagination to run riot in a story happening in England in early 1930s. To be precise, during the Christmas week of 1933. It is kind of Huckleberry Finn meets Caspar meets old Witch stories. Walliams lets his imagination run riot through this 407 pages light read. There is a Prologue and then 43 short, precise and illustrated chapters and an Epilogue accompanied by a “Letter of Complaint”.
In spite of the whole story happening in an almost haunted mansion, Awful Auntie has a bunch of insanely funny characters. Aunt Alberta is all wicked, black and greedy lady with horrible spelling and an obsession for owls. Her Great Bavarian Mountain Owl Wagner plays an extremely important role in the story. The old butler Gibbon is perhaps the most outrageous man living in his own world. Then we have the Chimney Sweeper boy Soot, who helps Stella in her escape plans. And of course our Lady Stella Saxby is that kid with the never-say-die ‘Spirit’ who manages to conquer all the odds against her.
A cute and extremely entertaining read, “Awful Auntie” is recommended for kids and grown ups alike. Well, Soot does tell us that the grown ups don’t see the magic in life because they don’t believe in magic. I am happy, the book took me to childhood for that period and made me believe in magic and the final triumph of the good over the evil.
We do get a kind of deja vu feeling many a times but that can be attributed to having read a lot of books for children. May be 10 to 20 years later, “Awful Auntie” might well be known as one of the classics among kid’s books. The book ends with a petition by Raj, the hero of most of Walliams’ works to bring him back in the next book. This I believe is for the Indian readers. Mr. Walliams calls himself Willybums and Winklebottoms in the “Letter of Complaint” that winds the story up.
Details of the book:
Author: David Walliams
First Published in Great Britain in 2014 by Harper Collins Children’s Books
Printed and bound in India by Thomson Press India Ltd.
413 pages with soft cover
Price: Rs. 399/-