Archer B. Helmsley has grown up in a house full of oddities and treasures collected by his grandparents, the famous explorers. He knows every nook and cranny. He knows them all too well. After all, ever since his grandparents went missing on an iceberg, his mother barely lets him leave the house.
Archer B. Helmsley longs for adventure. Grand adventures, with parachutes and exotic sunsets and interesting characters. But how can he have an adventure when he can't leave his house?
It helps that he has friends like Adélaïde L. Belmont, who must have had many adventures since she ended up with a wooden leg. (Perhaps a crocodile ate it. Perhaps not.) And Oliver Glub. Oliver will worry about all the details (so that Archer doesn't have to).
And so Archer, Adélaïde, and Oliver make a plan. A plan to get out of the house, out of their town entirely. It's a good plan.
Well, it's not bad, anyway.
But nothing goes quite as they expect.
©2015 Nicholas Gannon (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers
I'm an adult, and I found The Doldrums to be a fun and exciting story. There is a strong, cohesive narrative, a good amount of humor, and an amazing blend of compelling, realistic characters with more than a touch of the absurd (which I love. I love me some absurd.) Yes, there are a few over-used tropes, the ending felt a bit abrupt, and a couple plot points do not get explained to my satisfaction. However, the story absolutely pulled me in, much like The Secret Benedict Society, another great book. It's the kind of book you can't help but fall into, if only to see what happens next.
The absolute star of the show is Bronson Pinchot. Ever since we first saw Serge, Bronson's gift for creating characters has been known, and as much as I love Serge, Serge is nothing compared to the 20 or so voices Bronson created for this book. I am positive that, had I read the book first, my idea of these characters would pale in comparison to Bronson's creations. The only critique I could give him is that he has a tendency (in this book, anyway) to make the adults sound a bit older than they should be. That, and the main villain got a little too grating at times. But the quality and variety of his overall performance is so good, I'll happily overlook these two small flaws.
I hear that Bronson has done about 100 audiobooks(!), and I cannot wait to get my hands on another one and get plunged into another fantastic world full of crazy characters. I'm sure I'll find myself listening to The Doldrums again in the future, if only to hear Oliver's voice, which is my favorite. Bronson, you are amazing!:D
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