A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this creepy mystery is full of mature themes including teen pregnancy (there are three pregnant teens here), teen sex (fully described), incest, divine birth, controversial religious beliefs, and the usage of plants for medicinal and experimental purposes. A young teen girl is wrestled to the ground violently and tied up on a regular basis, and people die from poisoning.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Aslaug Helig isn't sure about much of her past and is uncertain about her future. Her father is an unknown mystery her mother refused to solve. After her mother's death Aslaug learns she has relatives that may hold the secret to her origins. Could she be more divine than human?
Is it any good?
Strange, disturbing, detailed, creepy, poetic -- Christina Meldrum's MADAPPLE is a rolling, twisting, odd mystery tale that wins on many levels. Obvious care has been given to researching botany, religious theology, and science. The novel switches with each chapter between Aslaug's telling of her version of the events and witness testimony at her murder trial. The switch teases and encourages readers to continue on Aslaug's winding journey.
Where the novel disappoints is in the sheer amount of detail. There is so much information -- plant descriptions, Latin classifications, and uses, along with overwhelming amounts of religious theory and a tangled family history that may or may not be incestuous, divine, or just dysfunctional. At times it feels as if Meldrum, a former litigator, has compiled her facts and figures and heaps them exhaustively on readers as if trying to convince them of the novel's validity. The novel has potential, but the potential gets lost in the details and ends a little too tidy. Parents may find much of the subject matter disturbing.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the use of plants in medicines. How were some common remedies discovered? Why are plants so important in medicine? Families can also discuss differences in religious beliefs. What religions hold similar beliefs about the birth of prominent religious figures? What are the differences between the religions featured and your own?