Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Review - Eugenia Lincoln and the Unexpected Package

Eugenia Lincoln and the Unexpected Package (Tales from Deckawoo Drive #4)
by Kate DiCamillo
illustrated by Chris Van Dusen
Date: 2017
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Reading level: C
Book type: illustrated chapter book
Pages: 112
Format: e-book
Source: library

What will it take for a cynical older sister to realize she’s a born accordion player — with music in her heart? Eugenia Lincoln is a practical person with no time for gee-gaws, whoop-de-whoops, or frivolity. When an unexpected package containing an accordion arrives at her house, she is determined to have nothing to do with it. But her plans to sell the accordion, destroy the accordion, and give the accordion away all end in frustration. How can Eugenia stop being tormented by this troublesome package? Might she discover that a bit of unforeseen frivolity could be surprisingly... joyous?

(synopsis from Goodreads)

And so we come to the end of all the Deckawoo Drive books. I'm a little disappointed that I didn't like this one more. But there were a couple of things that marred my enjoyment of the story.

The first (and main) issue I had is with consent. Eugenia Lincoln receives a mysterious accordion from an unknown source. Then an accordion teacher shows up on her doorstep. She's adamant that she doesn't want anything to do with the accordion, but nobody will take "no" for an answer. This culminates in the according teacher putting his arms around her and putting his fingers over hers on the keys, which made me really uncomfortable. Her wishes (and personal space) should've been respected. (The fact that she eventually comes around and the accordion becomes a blessing rather than a curse is beside the point. If we allow people to do things without consent and excuse that behaviour by saying it's good for the victim, it could lead to all sorts of problems.)

My other quibble is minor, but it was still disappointing. This book, unlike all the others, doesn't end with the eating of hot buttered toast! What the...?!

Overall, this is an okay book, but definitely not my favourite of the series. That honour belongs to Where Are You Going, Baby Lincoln? While I do like the fact that this book helped develop Eugenia Lincoln's character a little more, I don't like that it had to be at the expense of her own autonomy. She's pretty much manipulated throughout the book, and while that could be viewed as her getting her just deserts (she really is an overbearing woman), it also kind of rubbed me the wrong way.

Plot: 3/5
Characters: 3/5
Pace: 3/5
Writing & Editing: 4/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 3/5

Overall: 3.38 out of 5

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