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Laurence G. Kay
1.0 out of 5 starsNasty copy!
Reviewed in the United States on July 16, 2020
Nasty used library copy. Very inadequate description. Not a happy camper!
5.0 out of 5 starsCreepy to the Max, but in a good way
Reviewed in the United States on October 22, 2008
Let me just start by saying this book is weird. If you are the type that likes your stories odd, quirky, or just out of the norm, this book is for you. And although this book was in the teen collection, I imagine adults would enjoy it, too. The work is reminiscent of a F. Scott Fitzgerald tale. It's not set in the 1920s, but there is the same feel of magical realism and of characters that don't fit in normal society. It also reminded me of Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, OH, because it deals with life in a small town. Sometimes these small, seemingly quaint towns hold the deepest secrets.
The difficulty I have is giving a plot summary. It's one of those books that is really hard to describe. Rather than try to describe the plot, I will just tell you how the book starts. We meet Ivy, our protagonist, when she is seven years old. She tells us that she lives in a small town and that she is often in a drug store where the Rumbaugh twins live and work. We aren't sure why she spends so much time there, yet, but she is there often enough that the twins have a playroom for her. One day, she goes down to the playroom and she sees the twins' mother--the twins' mother, who happens to be dead--The twins' mother who happens to be dead and stuffed through taxidermy. Yes, that's right, just like Norman Bates. Although the twins deny it and say she's a stuffed bear, Ivy can't get this image out of her mind.
She is frightened and fascinated by what she sees. That's when she finds out about the curse of the Rumbaughs, who love their mothers to the point of obsession. What Ivy sees that day will connect her to the twins for the rest of her life.
Now, although this book is creepy, there's no murder or incest, so it's a far cry from Pyscho. Gantos, who writes the popular Joey Pigza books, gets the combination of elements just right. The mood is that of a psychological fairy tale. It has the subtle creepiness of a Grimm fairytale.
Give this to older teens that enjoy darker reads such as Francesca Lia Block.
Ivy was born with the only kind of love she ever wanted, a mother's love. She doesn't know who her father is and has no desire to find out (though Ivy's mother reveals the truth on her sixteenth birthday). But Ivy's mother does let slip that Ivy has inherited the love curse. The curse entails obsessive love of a mother accompanied by constant worry that she will die. Ivy also develops an unusual hobby: taxidermy. She is aided with this pastime by her quirky neighbors, the Rumbaugh twins, who run the pharmacy across the street. The Love Curse of the Rumbaughs chronicles Ivy's battle between overcoming the curse and letting it consume her, and uncovering the secrets of the Rumbaugh twins.
The Love Curse of the Rumbaughs was a bizarre and unusual book. The novel presented different viewpoints on free will, love, and the concept of "superior genetics" which I found interesting. But the book took the taxidermy hobby and obsessive love of a mother a bit too far. Also, the time skipped around, which I found confusing. Overall the book peaked my curiosity but was somewhat morbid; it was interesting but not an attention grabber for me. I would recommend this book be read only by young adults or older due to some of the content.
Reviewed by a student reviewer for Flamingnet Book Reviews. [...] Preteen, teen, and young adult book reviews and recommendations.
The book is one of my favourites, and I bought it because I had leant the original to a friend but needed it for an English essay. The book itself is phenomenal and it shamelessly explores social taboos and the ideology of religion and other philosophical things. No doubt about it that this is the best book I have ever read. But I ordered it on a wednesday, paid for one day delivery and it arrived on saturday which was awkward but I got a £5.99 refund for the shipping. I also have the audio book which is great to read along to! I'd highly recommend but if it's needed for a certain date order early!!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 13, 2009
A clever, if ghoulish, way of introducing the theme of Nature versus Nurture to older children via the concept of human taxidermy and a vile genetic Love Curse. Little Ivy remains seemingly unruffled after her discovery in the old twin's cellar but it is just the beginning of her inner battles. Laced with classic themes of Predestination versus Free Will and the displacement of the fatherless child. This book would make an absurdly good animated feature: think Tim Burton meets Psycho. Quite simply a must for those who like their Young Adult fiction with a taste of the Grotesque and the Gothic.