Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse by Chris Riddell
Confession (x1): Sometimes I like to read children’s books. [Awaits fiery judgement…it’s actually not so bad.] It’s comforting, like laying your head on the soft indents of your own pillow after a week away from home, and inhaling lost sleeps.
Confession (x2): I received this book for my 25th birthday, from a close friend. Upon request.
I shall make no bones about it – don’t worry, it’s out of my system now – this is a beautiful book. Hardback (unf), wonderfully tactile covers embossed with skulls and pages edged with purple foil, dozens of intricate illustrations nodding to Punch magazine, even a small pocket on the inside back cover which contains a teeny-weeny book entitled “Memoirs of a Mouse”, by Ishmael Whiskers. Calm thyself, my inky beating heart. So now that I have ritually divulged my Confessions of a Book Cover Whore, I will talk about the story itself.
We follow Ada Goth on a little mystery-tale around the Ghastly-Gorm Hall, as she and fellow members of the Attic Club stumble upon all manner of peculiar creatures shackled to various wings of the mansion. Meanwhile her father Lord Goth, mildly estranged following the tragic circus-accident of Ada’s mother, delegates his duties at the helm of the Annual Metaphorical Bicycle Race & Indoor Hunt. I feel a little pinpick of “Way to make the children cry, Rosie”, but there could be a little bit more to the plot, but it is admittedly so chock-full of other delights that it is hard to judge it on such harsh parameters. There are more literary puns than you can shake a quill at. There are so many references to Victorian novels and even modern popular culture. I couldn’t help but chuckle – actual portly-gentleman-chuckles which I didn’t believe I was capable of – at the wonderful witticisms in Riddell’s writing. We are gifted with Foot Notes by “the severed foot of a famous writer who lost the aforementioned foot at the Battle of Baden-Baden-Wurttemberg-Baden”. Twist your tongue around that beauty. The Hobby-House Racecourse features such milestones as “The Gravel Path of Conceit” and “The Chicane of Thwarted Hope”. If you are a lover of classics in any form, or A Series of Unfortunate Events, or just older-children’s books in general, I would highly recommend this. If this book were a small child I would pinch their toffee-apple cheeks and marvel at their general adorableness. I’ve never sounded more like a 90 year old woman.
Favourite Character: Hamish the Shetland Centaur. The Foot Note states as follows: “Shetland centaurs are just one of a number of mythical creatures living in Scotland. The Glasgow cyclops and the Edinburgh gorgon are well known, but the Arbroath smokie, a fire-breathing mermaid, is more elusive.”
This made me want to read: Goth Girl and the Fete Worse Than Death.
Inky Review: 7.5 bindings of 10. Essentially, this book is a hundred kinds of darling.