________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 25 . . . . March 10, 2017


The Adventures of Pinkin Rasbury.

A. H. Jackson.
Edmonton, AB: Argenta Press (Distributed by BookLogic), 2014.
175 pp., trade pbk., $9.95.
ISBN 978-0-9866-5467-1.

Grades 5-8 / Ages 10-13.

Review by Christine McCrea.

* /4



Then, as best she could, Pinkin explained how she was changing fate and foiling Droon's plans. She also told him about the wave. "It'll be a big one, Father. The biggest I think. It'll come right after the quake. You have to get all the people out of Garvee. Get them up the road and far away from the cliff. There's a good chance it will fall down," she said. "Are you listening, Father?'"

"Yes, yes… and you're right. My immediate responsibility is to my flock. I don't know how this is happening. But I know it's the devil's work, and you're here to thwart his plans. You truly are an angel…"

Pinkin Rasbury, 13, has been sent to stay with her grandmother, Ruthy, at Rasbury House. The house is an old mansion set on top of a cliff near Garvee, California. This is an area where earthquakes occur frequently and tsunamis regularly swallow hundreds of people. There are so many lethal disasters around Rasbury House, in fact, that one wonders why anyone would live there. Pinkin suspects that a tsunami killed her father; he disappeared on a visit to Rasbury House several years prior.

But far worse than natural disasters are the plethora of ghosts and shape-shifters that inhabit Rasbury House and its surrounding grounds. Pinkin, who has a knack for communicating with the dead, meets Dorothy Sawyer and Jon Wannamaker, croquet players from the 1930s. She also becomes friendly with Marcus, the caretaker of the house, and Toby, the boy who maintains the croquet pitch. All of these characters are ghosts or angels who can only be seen by some.

      And then there's Droon, an agent of the devil, who has been killing residents of Garvee throughout the 20th century, trapping their souls in wine bottles and keeping them in the cellar at Rasbury House. Pinkin, through trial and error, discovers that it's her job to stop Droon from blowing up the cliff-side and killing all the 1930s croquet players. Not only that, but she must warn the residents of Garvee against a coming tsunami.

      All of this involves a lot of running back and forth between the house and the town and much shifting through time. Each time Pinkin acts, it changes the future: other characters are born, or never born, or die early, and so on.

      The Adventures of Pinkin Rasbury is a confusing story that involves so much time shifting that a resolution to the story is always elusive. At one point, her actions result in the inability of her own grandparents to have children, thereby precluding her own existence! Yet she persists, as do the other angels and ghosts who may or may not ever have been born.

      Although Pinkin is only 13 (and the cover art suggests she is something of a modern-day Pippi Longstocking), she behaves like an older teenager. Perhaps her worldliness comes from the odd life she leads with her distant, actress mother who does not have time to care for her.

      Pinkin's age and the story, itself, suggest that the book is targeting an audience of 10-12-year-olds. Some content, however, is appropriate to more mature readers. We know that Pinkin hears voices, which turn out to be angels, but Pinkin's mother and psychiatrist believe she has an unspecified mental illness, and she is frequently reminded to take her pills. In addition, some of the language ("piss off" p.111) and violent episodes make the age recommendation a little tricky.

      The Adventures of Pinkin Rasbury uses many Christian references: angels, the devil, hell and "all the power of heaven" (p.165) abound. None of these concepts are fleshed out but are simply used as a vehicle for a time travel adventure that's very difficult to follow.

Not Recommended.

Christine McCrea is a children's librarian at Richmond Public Library in BC.

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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