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Adventures of a cat-whiskered girl (original 2010; edition 2010)

by Daniel Manus Pinkwater

Series: Neddiad (3)

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664180,945 (3.77)3
Member:lorax
Title:Adventures of a cat-whiskered girl
Authors:Daniel Manus Pinkwater
Info:Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010.
Collections:Your library, Reviewed
Rating:**1/2
Tags:neddiad, 03, fantasy, children's, tpb

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Adventures of a Cat-Whiskered Girl by Daniel Manus Pinkwater (2010)

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"Incidentally, I don't know how late you were planning to stay, but there is an excellent film this evening The Snake Pit. It's a wonderful comedy. I've seen it several times." p. 40.

Big Audrey has her own quest in Adventures of a Cat-Whiskered Girl by Daniel Pinkwater. She hitches a ride from Los Angeles to Poughkeepsie, New York and there she finds clues to her true identity.

This book is like the Shutter Island for middle graders and tweens. What appears to be real isn't necessarily real and what appears to be a hallucination might actually be the real deal. And it was for this back and forth between the real and unreal that I so love the book.

Audrey meets a professor who has voluntarily checked himself into the local insane assylum because it seemed like the thing to do. She also meets Molly, the psychic who can see things for what they really are. Molly ends up being her best source of clues for learning her true identity.

The search though takes her up river to see a scary monster, through time to the town's past and to a parallel plane of existence. It would take too long to explain everything.

It was a fun read and made me laugh as much as The Neddiad did. ( )
  pussreboots | Jul 28, 2013 |
Disappointing and disconnected; I enjoyed the Neddiad very much, despite not being the target audience, found the Yggyssey amusing, and this one tiresome. Audrey, the titular cat-whiskered girl from the parallel plane of existence visited in the Yggyssey, leaves the characters we know from the previous two books and sets off on her own. There's not much in the way of a plot, but rather a disconnected series of things that happen to her. It has humorous moments but doesn't hold up to the standards of the previous volumes. ( )
  lorax | Jan 3, 2013 |
The illustrations are under the chapter headings, but they are useful/relevant and there are a lot of chapters--69 in a 268-page story. I liked the literary references to Max and the monsters in Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are and to The Day the Earth Stood Still and nursery rhymes, but the book felt rambling and, for once, I wanted the story to get somewhere. So, not my favorite Pinkwater. ( )
  raizel | Sep 10, 2012 |
Pinkwater, D. (2010). Adventures of a Cat-Whiskered Girl. New York: Houghton Mifflin.

268 pages.

Appetizer: Big Audrey is from another plane of existence. She had been visiting Los Angeles but has since relocated to Poughkeepsie, where she works at a UFO bookshop.

While visiting the local insane asylum, she befriends a girl named Molly who has a tendency to notice things that others don't. They go in search to find aliens and while meeting a number of quirky characters (including an old wise woman, a giant, a family of trolls a wolluf and the much-dreaded Muffin Man), they wind-up on the path to their destinies and to Audrey learning more about where she comes from.

The best way to sum up this book: Weeeeeeeeird.

It plays with absurdism and as I read I felt myself being pushed to question the way reality is constructed, to question the way that the insane are often perceived, to see the outsiders of society in a new way.

And while all of that is nice...this book was maybe a little too weird for me.

It is also worth noting for the overprotective parents out there, there is mention of getting high toward the end of the book. Several characters ingest magic bean soup that leaves them in altered states for a time. (I didn't find this scene in any way offensive. But it did make me start to wonder whether Pinkwater himself was high while writing.)

I kept trying to figure out if I would like this when I was a middle grade student. My conclusion is that younger (often impatient) me probably would have put this book back on the shelf after reading the first few pages.

Adult me probably would have done the same if I didn't feel obligated to finish due to everyone everywhere raving about how humorous Pinkwater's books are.

I guess I just don't find the humor in this book. One of the five or six moments I kanda-sorta found amusing was:

"But it's spooky and scary."
"We'll go in the daytime. It's not so scary then, is it?"
"Maybe not as" (p. 56)

That made me go "ha." Silently. In my head. Not out loud. Even after a glass of wine, I still wasn't laughing. And now, rereading it out of context, I realize you TOTALLY need the context to get anything out of that. Sigh.

I was amused with the Harold the Giant character who is a short giant, standing at only 5'7''. But then, it's not polite to draw attention to a person's physical deficits.

I also liked a reference to the classic version of The Day the Earth Stood Still. Pinkwater quotes my dad's favorite scene. So I actually had to call my dad and read aloud a portion of chapter 61 (very short chapters!).

Logically, I did know that the book way playing with some excellent concepts (like finding a sense of belonging) and the book remixed some folkstories and touches on American history in inventive ways. And trying to explain the content of the book is a humorous endeavor all it's own. I can see why someone could fall in love with this book or other of Pinkwater's 100-ish publications. His writing just doesn't seem to be for me.

And now I'll be forced to feel like an outside among all my peers and teachers because I may be the only one whose immediate reaction to Pinkwater's books is WTF instead of YAYZ!

Dinner Conversation:

"It surprises me how many people don't know there are different planes of existence. Well, it's not really surprising that you don't know if no one ever explained it to you, so I will do that now" (p. ix).

"I myself came from another plane of existence to this one...Well, it's true that I can't absolutely prove I come from another plane. However, if you go to the library and get ahold of encyclopedias and National Geographics and certain books, you can find an article with pictures of a typical-looking Inuit, a typical-looking Northern European, a typical-looking Mongolian, a typical-looking Banut, Korean, Australian, Moroccan, and so on...all different types. All different in minor ways, and all similar in most ways. It is interesting. What you will not find is a picture of a girl with cat whiskers and sort of catlike eyes. That is, until they take a picture of me" (pp. x-xi).

"...Did they make you come to this hospital because you notice things other people don't?"
"No. I'm actually nuts," she said. "They put me here hoping to cure me of it."
"And are they doing you any good?" I asked.
"Not really. I'm hoping it goes away by itself. My name is Molly" (p. 11).

"Now, it is a fact that even if you have worked out logically that the odds are vastly in favor of life on other planets, even if you have had experience that supports the idea that travel between worlds is not only possible but common, and even if you have actually seen or otherwise had personal experience of spacecraft or flying saucers, when someone else claims to have had an encounter your first thought is to check out whether they are crazy" (p. 32).

Tasty Rating: !! ( )
  SJKessel | Jun 19, 2012 |
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Jennifer Laughran---bonus procurator est rarum quambonus scriptor.
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It surprises me how many people don't know there are different planes of existence.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0547223242, Hardcover)

Big Audrey is a girl . . .
with cat’s whiskers . . .
and sort of cat’s eyes.
But, is there an other cat-whiskered, sort of cat-eyed girl?

Big Audrey waves goodbye to her friends Iggy and Neddie, Seamus, and Crazy Wig, in Los Angeles and hitches a ride with bongo-playing-while-driving Marlon Brando across the country to Poughkeepsie, New York, city of mystery. She finds she has questions needing answers—and a bit of inter-plane-of-existence traveling to do.

Big Audrey and her telepathic friend Molly zigzag off on an incredibly strange and kooky adventure, and solve the mystery of the cat-whiskered doppelganger.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:25:06 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Big Audrey, who has cat-like whiskers, and her telephathic friend Molly set out on a journey to find out why flying saucers are landing behind the old stone barn in Poughkeepsie, New York, and, more importantly, to determine whether another cat-whiskered girl really exists.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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