Molly Moon's Incredible Book of Hypnotism
HarperCollins, 2004 (2002)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio
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Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
ts beginning reminded me of Lemony Snicket's
Series of Unfortunate Events
. Poor Molly Moon is at the mercy of the Hardwick House orphanage and its director, the loathsome Miss Adderstone who only cares for her overfed pug Petula. No-one likes gangly Molly except her friend Rocky - the other orphans bully her and call her
. She's an ugly duckling with thin, pink, blotchy, knock-kneed legs '
mottled like Spam
', a potato nose and a '
pink lump of dough
' of a face. Her life is '
ou have to feel sorry for Molly when her overuse of bathwater (only 10 centimeters allowed) results in a draconian punishment. Her day goes from bad to worse and she's had enough when even Rocky turns against her. Molly seeks refuge in her favorite spot, the '
X to Z
' shelves of the town library. There she overhears bad-tempered Professor Nockman yelling at the nice librarian, who has mislaid his book on hypnotism. Molly finds it right in front of her and reads it avidly.
er first subject is Petula, whom she hypnotises to dislike the chocolate chip cookies that form her diet, give her a tummyache and make her grumpy. Next comes a suitable revenge on Miss Adderstone, followed by success in convincing the awful cook Edna that she adores Italian cooking. Then Molly wins a local talent competition and uses the prize money to set off for America in search of Rocky (he was suddenly adopted and left without even a goodbye.) Molly flees with Petula, Nockman hot on her heels.
he ends up in the Waldorf's Royal Suite, ordering ketchup sandwiches from room service (I have to admit that this struck a chord as I enjoyed both ketchup and sugar sandwiches as a child, though not the snot sandwiches made by another character in this story). Further adventures involve stardom and blackmail, a bank heist and a kidnapping. As the dastardly professor tries to exploit Molly's newfound power she feels that everything is '
very out of control
' and begins to question her own actions and motives. Along the way the author has fun with aspects of our society such as advertizing - ads initially give Molly hope and fuel her imagination but she later realizes their hypnotic effects.
olly meets up with Rocky again, learns what true friendship is all about, and is shocked by several twists and turns of plot that the author throws her way. It's a mesmerizing start to what looks to be a great new series - wild, wacky and magical.
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