Monday, August 2, 2010

Saffy’s Angel by Hilary McKay


When Saffron was eight, and had at last learned to read, she hunted slowly through the color chart pinned up on the kitchen wall.

So begins the book Saffy’s Angel by Hilary McKay. Saffron ‘Saffy’ is the second-oldest child in the Casson family, a hilarious family of painters. They live in a house named The Banana House in England. All of the children in the Casson family are named after colors. There is Cadmium (Caddy), Saffron (Saffy), Indigo, and Permanent Rose (Rose). All of Saffy’s siblings’ names are on the big color chart on the kitchen wall of The Banana House, except for Saffron. This discovery leads Saffy to discover that she was adopted, and that her mother, Eve, is really her aunt. Saffy is the daughter of Eve’s twin sister Linda, who died in a car crash in Italy when Saffy was very small. After finding this out, Saffy is deeply upset and doesn’t feel like a member of the family.

The children’s Grandad brought Saffy back from Italy after her mother’s death. He then returned to Italy, alone, and no one knew why. After he came back, he was never the same. He moved into a nursing home, and he never spoke, except for one word: Saffron. After his death, he leaves something to each of the children in his will. Everyone’s things are either broken or nonexistent, but pinned to the will, they find a note that reads:

For Saffron. Her angel in the garden.

Saffy then goes on a mission of self-discovery to find her mysterious angel, with the help of her family and a new friend she makes.

This is a beautiful story. I found this book on my bookshelf, and I remembered liking it when I had read it before. This time around, I loved it. It is absolutely hilarious, and though the main portion of the story focuses on Saffy, the rest of the family have their bits as well. Caddy starts to take driving lessons, and falls in love with her driving instructor. The dialogue back and forth between them is enough to make you start laughing out loud. Indigo, the third-oldest, tries not-very-effectively to cure himself of his fear of heights so that he can be a Polar Explorer when he grows up. Rose, my personal favorite character, is the youngest, and is portrayed exactly like kids her age. Everything that came out of her mouth made me laugh. The parents, Bill and Eve Casson, are very funny as well.

It is a very funny story, but also genuinely sad and touching at parts. The writing is engrossing; I found myself glued to the book and not able to put it down until I was done. All of the characters feel like real people. I give it five stars, and hope you enjoy it as much as me!


Note: I did not write this book review. This review was written by my friend Nina. Thank you! You are the first guest reviewer. Congratulations and thank you again!

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