Caroline's Reviews > The Doldrums

The Doldrums by Nicholas Gannon
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did not like it
bookshelves: children, adventure, fiction

I would like to try to leave a constructive review, but this book continually made me more and more angry as I kept going and NOTHING HAPPENED. I so badly wanted the adventure that is promised and never delivered.

This book would be a good read for a voracious reader who consumes a lot of books each week and wouldn't be bothered by something so dull. However, this will be poison for a reluctant reader. I guarantee it. A child who "doesn't like reading" will take this as further proof that "books are boring".

The Doldrums follows three children: Archer, Oliver, and Adelaide. They never leave town and don't really do anything, except go to school, meet each other on the roof, and sneak out to ride the bus to a store. At some points I question if they even like each other, because their friendship isn't shown to develop, and there are spots where it is highlighted that Archer isn't even listening to (or care about) what Oliver is saying, or Oliver suddenly wants to weasel out of the friendship and leave Archer and Adelaide together to plot their adventure. (Imagine if Ron bailed on Harry after the troll attack??) The adults are either cartoonish, hazily-motivated antagonists intent on squashing any ideas of fun, or they are so laissez faire that the kids are ignored for hours on end (or both!).

Imagine if Harry Potter never left the Dursley's house, and Ron, Hermione, and Aunt Margorie Durley all live nearby. Harry & Co. spend the entire story half-heartedly "wishing for some vague adventure" and then, at the end, Harry's sent off to Hogwarts/Azkaban by his onesies. This is The Doldrums in a nutshell.

This was very frustrating, because the summary of the book really seemed interesting, and I was expecting Archer to find his grandparents and prove his mother wrong and have a satisfying ending. However, it took 200+ pages to meander about, the climax was weird and unrealistic (view spoiler)with only a bit of excitement in the last 5 pages where Archer learns some news that we already knew.
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Reading Progress

December 23, 2015 – Shelved
December 23, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
July 30, 2016 – Started Reading
July 30, 2016 – Shelved as: children
July 30, 2016 – Shelved as: adventure
August 3, 2016 –
page 118
32.42% "Imagine if Harry Potter never left the Dursley's, and aunt Petunia moved in next door, and Ron lived on the other side, and there was no Hogwarts and nobody did anything... I hate that it's taken this long to establish that Archer's parents are insufferable and nothing good will happen. I can't wait to finish this thing and read something better."
August 3, 2016 –
page 132
36.26% "I guess it's common for mothers to hate their children in this book. Wtf is up with Adelaide's mother? She and Archer's mother should get together and then go die somewhere. What horrible people. Being that horrible should be illegal!"
August 11, 2016 –
page 228
62.64% "DULLdrums. They still haven't had an adventure. Best that's happened is they met with Hermion-er, Adelaide. Jesus, I know this is for kids, but the plot is so slow (as if Harry Potter never left the Dursley's). There's no conflict. Just adults who are assholes."
August 11, 2016 –
page 237
65.11% ""Archer wasn't paying attention" -- quote from this book whenever Oliver or Adelaide says something. Archer really doesn't respect his friends. They're just tools to help him get to Antarctica. I hope he freezes to death."
August 11, 2016 – Finished Reading
August 13, 2016 –
page 291
79.95% "FINALLY Archer meets someone who knew his grandparents and isn't a dick. Unfortunately, he's against them having an adventure in Antarctica.\n\nWhat's the good news? I'm almost done!! I'll only read the sequel with a huge financial incentive."
August 16, 2016 –
page 339
93.13% "I knew they wouldn't get to Antarctica. This book is made of lies. Lies about adventures and (lies) interesting things (lies) happening to characters that are (lies) likeable.\n\nI am sad because, of the next few pages, none are taken up by a big picture that lets me skip a page and get closer to the end.\n\nMy pillow is stained with my tears ;_;\n\nI will never get this time back..."
October 12, 2018 – Shelved as: fiction

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