10 June 2012

When You Wish Upon a Rat; Maureen McCarthy


When You Wish upon a RatWhen You Wish upon a Rat by Maureen McCarthy
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Cute, but not quite cute enough. This is the story of a girl, Ruth, whose favorite aunt gives her a stuffed rat, saying that this was a special present.  Ruth takes to Rodney, but her self-involved brother Marcus tosses it out the window one day and things then start to go wrong for the family.  Her parents have no time for her, Marcus becomes even more insufferable, and younger brother Paul is not much better.  There has to be a better life...

Her only friend, Howard (an abused child), suggests that they return to the place where Marcus tossed Rodney out the car window.  While Howard dozes and searches for the remains of the stuffed animal, Rodney himself appears to Ruth and offers her three opportunities to find another life, one she would prefer to the one she has.  Of course, nothing goes exactly as Ruth thinks it will, and ultimately, well, there's no place like home.

Only the second of the three "lives" was interesting, as Ruth ends up in a Catholic school that takes in orphans/poor children as well as "lady scholars" who has parents and money.  The friend she makes there, Bridie, is one of the few real characters in the book.  The other two lives are predictable and it's obvious why Ruth doesn't want to stay there.

Middle Grade readers may like the structure and the Big Lesson better than I.

ARC provided by publisher.

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