Burntown by Jennifer McMahon
Book Review: 3 out of 5 stars
Miles is a 10-year-old boy in the 1970’s. He’s playing Robin Hood when he sees his mother murdered by a man wearing a chicken mask. Miles has always vowed to find the man who murdered his mother. Even when he grows up and marries Lily, he carries with him a secret that his father entrusted him with. His father claims to have the plans to a very special machine designed by Thomas Edison himself. With this machine, the living can speak to the dead. When tragedy strikes their family, Miles’ wife, Lily, and their daughter, Eva (now known as Necco), become homeless. But they can’t escape their past as the Chicken Man is still hunting them down.
I remember enjoying “The Winter People” by this author so thought I would give her newest book a try. I enjoyed the beginning of the book which is mostly about Miles, both as a child and as a man. But when the section about Necco started, I began to lose interest. It felt too much like a young adult book at that point. I seem to be reading far too many books lately that start off about adults and then morph into stories about teens. They’re not listed as young adult books and yet they feel like they are to me. For that reason, I can only give this book 3 stars.
What I did enjoy about the book was its fairy tale atmosphere, particularly the inclusion of the circus fat lady, Pru, with her miniature circus and fanciful dreams. What I really didn’t like was the subtle acceptance of the drugs taken by The Fire Eaters, a group of eccentric women Lily became involved with. These drugs apparently gave them special insight into the present, past and future. The book was entertaining and quirky but I can’t say it’s one that I would recommend.
This book was given to me by the publisher in return for discussion in the Goodreads group, “Keep Turning Pages”.