One of the fun aspects of working in a library is finding things that people have left in their books. I have found IDs, money, notes, and scraps of paper. When I opened this book, an index card fell out. Perfect, I thought, a book mark. Drawn on the card was a face with a dark grimace on it. I hoped it wasn't an omen.
This book by Philip Ardagh is very, very, very similar in style to the wonderful Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events. The author takes time out of the story to explain expressions to the reader and at one point, the characters of the story even refer to the page number of the book. Unfortunately, the ratio of explanations to story is much higher and much less charming in this story about Eddie Dickens, a young man who has to leave his home to stay with his crazy aunt and uncle until his parents recover from illness. Eddie has none of the gumption of the Beaudelaire children and is pushed around in this book like a empty soda bottle in the ocean. He is even as transparent and empty as the bottle. One thing I liked about Awful End was the explanations about life in England at the time of Charles Dickens.
This book was written for a younger audience and may be enjoyed by readers who also enjoyed the Snicket books.
My rating for this book: ++