Good thing I don’t like reading hardbacks with their dustwrappers on. Had I not taken the one off Andromeda Klein, I wouldn’t have known it had all sorts of interesting things ‘drawn’ on the back. That’s a first for me. I wish I’d also started reading the book from the end, as then I would have been aware of the Lexicon Frank Portman had included, and that would have saved me a few trips to the beginning of the book (are you with me still?) to look up the first time I encountered ‘bagel worm agony’ and ‘spinach U-turn’. (That’s ‘naked girl magazine’ and ‘Finnish Lutheran’, for your information.)
Andromeda’s hearing isn’t so good and leads to interesting phrases and words. She is also very klein in stature, but old enough to drive. Except she doesn’t, other than into hedges. (This American idea of letting very young people drive cars is handy for plot purposes, but a bad idea. It should tell me how old a character is, but it doesn’t. So should the year they are in at school, and one day I really will get my head round that.)
Andromeda Klein is a weird book. Very American. That’s not to say (all) Americans are weird. I’m sure it’s only some of them. Frank is one, though. I’d like to – no actually, I wouldn’t – know what goes on in his head. He must have sat down and thought out all these really unusual thoughts Andromeda has, and all the weird theories about … yes, about what exactly? Tarot cards. Books in the 133 and 296 sections of the library. Obviously.
You’ll have to read it to find out. I’ll be honest with you. If I hadn’t read and loved King Dork, then I may have given up somewhere in the first one hundred pages. (Sorry Frank.) It was fun and different, but just a tad slow with a lot of interior monologue/thoughts on tarot and the like from Andromeda. Frank sort of explains all Andromeda’s theories before getting on with it.
But it was well worth persevering and then I got the hilarious and seriously odd story I’d been expecting all the time. Frank even manages the inside of a girl’s mind quite well. Weird girl’s inside. Nowhere does it mention Asperger Syndrome, but you know… And unlike many fictional characters she goes to the ‘vacuum’ reassuringly often. The mom and the dad are weird, too, but in a less good way. That’s what she calls them; the mom and the dad. The cat, on the other hand, is called Dave, and the ‘was-he-ever-really-her-boyfriend?’ type is called St Steve.
And her so-called best friend is dead.
(Frank says he has no British publisher for the book yet, which is a pity. He took pity on me and sent me the book all the way from California. That kind of behaviour is not going to make him rich. And the photo I happened to ‘borrow’ from The Rock & Roll Librarian.)