________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 10 . . . . November 11, 2016


The Road to Ever After.

Moira Young.
Toronto, ON: Doubleday Canada, 2016.
226 pp., hardcover, $21.99.
ISBN 978-0-385-68742-3.

Grades 4-9 / Ages 9-14.

Review by Mary Thomas.

**** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.



Just as the pot was coming to the boil for the lobsters, George went barking to the front of the house. Davy and the Blye children ran after him to see why. They watched a dusty saloon car bump up the track to the house. It parked and the driver, a man in a rumpled suit, got out and stretched. To Davy's astonishment, it was Mr Bunting, the lawyer, last seen snoring on the bar at the New Inn.

'Ah, here you are,' he said to Davy. 'Merry Christmas, all. I'm Bunting.' His hair was still wild abround his head, his face was still kind and open. He smiled at Davy with his clear blue eyes. 'You're a hard man to find. I've had the police on your trail.'

'The police!' Tom looked at Davy with the utmost respect. …

Mrs Blye said he'd arrived just in time. Then the lobsters were set to boiling and that Christmas feast on the beach – lobster with melted butter that went running down their chins – was more delicious than anything Davy could have imagined. Despite that, he couldn't really enjoy it. Mr Bunting had gone to great lengths to track him down. He was a lawyer. It must mean that Davy was in trouble.

When they'd finished eating Mr Bunting said quietly, only for Davy's ears, 'Why do you suppose I had the police looking for you?'

Davy's bread stuck in his throat. He swallowed. 'The turkey truck. The bicycle. The police car,' he said.

'As your lawyer, I advise you to stop there,' said Mr Bunting. 'What I don't hear, I can't know.'

Davy David ('Whoever named you lacked imagination', as old Miss Flint said) was born in Brownsville and raised in a Home there until he was seven and the Home closed. Then he was out on the streets, keeping his head down, doing odd jobs for food, living in a nest in some trees in a park, and making pictures of Renaissance angels in the dust with brushes made of sticks and leaves. These pictures, copied from a medieval book of angels held in the local library, are not appreciated by all, especially not by the local hell fire and brimstone preacher. He partners with Mr Kite, the gangmaster, who roams the streets looking for vagrants whom he can snatch and sell on – thus solving a problem for the town council as well as making a profit for himself. So far Davy had escaped his hounds and his tranquilizer guns.

      Then – the library is forced to close for lack of funds, the movie theatre is shut down and Davy's two places of refuge disappear. However, Miss Flint, a "witch" (according to the local children) who lives in the old museum among the dinosaur bones, hires him as a chauffeur to drive her back to where she was born so that she can die there. The fact that Davy is at this point only 13 she regards as irrelevant. They set off. Adventures follow (see Davy's list he gives the lawyer in the excerpt above), but the greatest one is that Miss Flint starts growing younger … and younger. And less corporeal. She can't turn pages or lift anything. In fact, she is dead, but she still wants to go home, and Davy seems to be the agent/angel who can get her there.

      The Road to Ever After is a charming and carefree story about the things in life (and death) that really matter. It's crazy, and full of fun, and ridiculous, and a totally enjoyable read. I loved it. What's more, the ending is an ending and, although it is also a beginning in many senses, it is a fantasy novel that is not about to produce a sequel. This makes it almost unique in the genre and is worth it for that alone if for nothing else. I find it hard to tell whether kids will like it, but with some it may strike a chord. I hope so.

Highly Recommended.

Mary Thomas lives and occasionally works in Winnipeg, MB. She enjoys off beat books that require her to believe six impossible things before breakfast.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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