Be sure you have plenty of time when you start to read The Curse of Addy McMahon by Katie Davis—you might not be able to stop turning pages to see what happens next. On the other hand, Davis’s clever use of graphic illustrations interspersed in the narrative provide clean breaks if you just have to put the book down now and then.
Mother-daughter book clubs with girls aged 11 to 14 will find a lot to like here. Addy is convinced she suffers from a family curse, rendered against her great-granddad in Ireland by fairies. And she’s got mounting evidence to suggest she might be right. Her mom’s boyfriend is moving into the guest room “temporarily,” her worst enemy saw her shopping for a training bra, and her best friend, Jackie, is mad at her because she accidentally emailed a copy of a nasty fake interview with Jackie that got all around school.
But Addy does have a lot going for her. She helped create a school newspaper and she’s on the editorial staff. She interviews interesting people and creates graphic drawings to illustrate the stories she writes. People love her interviews, and they let her know it. I found myself wishing I had experienced that kind of good luck when I was in middle school.
The illustrations punctuating the narrative should make The Curse of Addy McMahon attractive to reluctant readers as well as those who devour books. The presentation is unconventional, and so is some of the narrative. It was quite interesting to read Addy’s thoughts about her father, who died from cancer he got from smoking. And the subject of parents entering the dating/relationship world after the death of a spouse is also very thoughtfully written.
Here’s an activity idea to go with the book: have girls and moms both draw their own autobiograstrips like Addy’s. Share them at a meeting and see what discussion ensues.