"The House with a Clock in its Walls": News | Reviews | Discussion

Everyone Who Had A Childhood Can Relate To Lewis’ Desperation

...The House with the Clock in its Walls (the first in a long series of Lewis Barnavelt mysteries) holds up remarkably well—save for the stray reference to mysterious antique toys such as the “view-master,” readers would never guess it was first published back in 1973.

The hero of The House with a Clock in its Walls is, as per convention, a recently orphaned boy consigned to a mysterious uncle in a distant town that happens to be in Michigan but may as well be Transylvania. Yes, there is an endearingly grumpy witch. Yes, there is a magical struggle to save the world from oblivion that ends with everyone dying in a ball of fire (just kidding). None of this is surprising in the world of children’s fiction. What is surprising is the quality of Bellairs’ writing, which is shot through with the kind of real emotion that animates all great children’s books. At the heart of this tale is a search for friendship.

Everyone who had a childhood can relate to Lewis’ desperation, his hope for friendship, and his desire to reach that magical social plateau free of casual humiliation. The magical aspects of Bellairs’ world are both beautifully wrought and suffused in sadness, but it’s the other story, that of a boy in search of a friend, that will keep you turning the pages.
The Barnes and Noble Book Blog

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