The Marvelous Adventures of Gwendolyn Gray was written by B.A. Williamson and published by North Star Editions/Jolly Fish Press. It a story for young children aged 9-14/15 and went well beyond my expectations. Going into this story I thought it would be a humorous story full of adventures of a young girl. What I got was a dystopian world and the adventures of a brave young girl not willing to conform to society’s demands. There is a powerful message in this story.
When I began The Marvelous Adventures of Gwendolyn Gray, the start reminded me sowewhat of George Orwell’s 1984. Everything in young Gwendolyn’s world is very gray. Gray skies, gray school, gray buildings, gray clothes and so on and in this world Gwendolyn stands out with her fiery red hair.
In this world Gwendolyn has something other don’t have (anymore) – find out why in the story – imagination and a wish to be different from everyone else. This is where Gwendolyn’s story starts: when her imagination gets the better of her and thingsgo haywire. Suddenly her world is turned around.
I really liked how this story was presented. It’s a dystopian story, but filled with magical realism and a rebellious little girl. The writing is great with lots of imagery. There is also some great worldbuilding here, because the author managed to draw me straight into the story and keep me there to find out all about our main character and the world she lives in.
There are some great elements to the story. Friendship, imagination, pirates, rabbit ears, creepy men in bowler hats. In fact when you read this book you get the same wonder that you get with Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland with the power of storytelling.
I also liked that Gwendolyn’s parents are neither good not evil. They are not perfect, but you have a sense of sympathy for them.
This is one of those children’s books that adults will love too. Well written with a great story. I get the sense that there will be more stories as some plotlines were unresolved or left open. I for one really hope so, because it’s been a long time since a story challenged me as a reader. I can only imagine what a story like this will mean for young readers.
P.S. don’t you just love this cover? It’s beautiful!