My rating: 5 of 5 stars
There is one of those Fate & Publishing stories behind this book, as I discovered when reading the author's acknowledgements. This very funny, very smart, and highly readable book pre-dates the Harry Potter juggernaut. As anyone who has worked in a bookstore or in any facet of publishing knows, the collective unconscious dips into inventive minds around the planet. Voila, along with J.K. Rowling writing in an Edinburgh coffee shop to save money on her daytime gas bill, a British School of Sophistry with a reluctant student and a wacky faculty emerged in Canada, courtesy of a retired homeopathic doctor.Even more eerie is the fact that a form of airborne device which must be mind-activated by the passenger is a featured mode of transportation by all competent members of the imperilled School within a grand post-secondary institution, along the lines of an Oxford or Cambridge University.
Meanwhile Harry found a good publisher in Bloomsbury UK and went on to World Domination while this manuscript, equally talented in my opinion, was set aside. Finally in 2014, Mary Lou's Brew was self-published.(Why? Why? If I still worked in publishing, I would have pounced on this manuscript, championed it and then sold it to those of us who are sick to death of unicorns (should be shot on sight to prevent pastel imaginations from spreading like pink jello across the land of childhood), vampires (hand me a sharpened stake and a braid of garlic please) and those relentless, rotting-on-the-hoof zombies.)In contrast, this book is very well-written and science, pseudo-science, and the politics of academia are all skewered with great good humour and word play (look for JIM Beam technology).
For smart older teens (a hookah in the hands of a Dean is involved, but then a hookah appears in Alice in Wonderland as well) and especially fans of all ages pining for the sheer imagination of Harry Potter ...this book is for you. Adults who have not lost their sense of humour will be delighted as this book is often laugh-out-loud funny. The author knows her Greek philosophical sects and creates memorable characters, zinger dialogue and a brilliantly-paced plot. What a movie this would make as well! Dame Maggie Smith is a shoo-in for Octavia.
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