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Allusion is not Illusion

You'll pry my books off my cold, dead body. By the time you shift them all I'll be flat and dessicated.

Currently reading

Winter's Tales
Karen Blixen, Isak Dinesen
Black Lamb and Grey Falcon (Penguin Classics)
Rebecca West, Christopher Hitchens
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Susanna Clarke
Already Dead
Charlie Huston
The Rings of Saturn
W.G. Sebald, Michael Hulse
Lady Audley's Secret
Mary Elizabeth Braddon, David Skilton
Unequal Protection: How Corporations Became "People" - And How You Can Fight Back
Thom Hartmann
The City, Not Long After
Pat Murphy
You Can Sketch: A Step-by-Step Guide for Absolute Beginners
Jackie Simmonds
Lonely Werewolf Girl
Martin Millar
The Demon Headmaster - Gillian Cross ...and by Demon Cross really means Mean and Scary. There are no actual demonic entities, and no souls are eternally damned in the making of this book.

In fact, it isn't even very scary -- rather unrealistically so, given the premise. I mean, imagine you are little kid at a new school. Your new foster brothers drop ominous hints and are clearly afraid of the headmaster and other students. On your first day, all the other kids are strangely regimented and won't speak to you. You get physically manhandled by the precepts, and then dragged to the head's office. Afterward you can't remember what happened. Likewise, think about life for the two boys: every day they go to a school where they are shut in a room while all the other zombie-like children conduct some secret activities. The slightest misbehavior leads to physical abuse, such as being forced out into the snow for an extended period with no coat or gloves. Their parents absolutely refuse to listen and insist the school is wonderful.

The scenario is nightmarish. In execution, it comes across as merely stressful and slightly scary. In real life a child in these conditions would probably have a break-down or at least display some weird behavioral disorders. But I guess they are English or something so they are keeping their chins up or whatever. There isn't enough character development to be certain.

Anyway, it is a very short and slight book, an entertaining quick read that doesn't contain anything graphic or too frightening for younger kids.