Book Review: Leaving the Bellweathers

May 9th, 2010 by

Leaving the Bellweathers by Kristin Clark Venuti

The bags under the butler's eyes are the best part of the cover, I think.

When the publisher of Leaving the Bellweathers sent us the book, I was ecstatic! Then I put it on my bookshelf and promptly forgot about it for several months. (Hey, I’ve been busy!)

Well, now I regret not reading the book sooner, because it’s really fun! It’s the “true” account of Tristan Benway, indentured servant faithful butler to the Bellweather family.

Who are the Bellweathers, you ask? The Bellweathers are: a mad scientist father, a loopy painter mom, a brother obsessed with dangerous animals, a sister who protests for justice by playing the bagpipes, and a very loud set of triplets who are devoted to making art and detonating dynamite (the two hobbies are not mutually exclusive).

The style of author Kristin Clark Venuti — I mean, Tristan Benway — is very quaint, proper, and exactly what you’d expect from the  top-ranked graduate of B. Knighted Academy for Butlers. If you enjoy the snarky style of Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events, I think you’ll thoroughly enjoy Leaving the Bellweathers.

I’m a reader who obsessively thinks about WHY characters do the things they do and act the way they act. I enjoy books with lots of backstory and history (I’m looking at you, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince!*). So… I understand completely why butler Tristan Benway does the things he does and acts the way he acts. And I can surmise why the Bellweather kids are the way they are. (Although, to be blunt, they are kind of… insane. In a lovable way. Read the book and you’ll understand what I mean.) But what about the parents? I’d like to know what their deal is! So, a little message to Tristan Benway, a.k.a. Kristin Clark Venuti: If you’re planning to write a sequel, I don’t want to see less of the zany kids, but I do want to read more about the equally zany parents! All kept organized, fed, and clean by Tristan, of course.

So, there you have it: my overdue review of Leaving the Bellweathers by Kristin Clark Venuti. If it sounds appealing, pick up a copy and let me know what you think! Oh, and did I mention that albino alligators, a family of circus performers held hostage, and a heist of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa play a part in the plot?

— Nancy

*Much to Karen’s chagrin, HPHBP is Nancy’s favorite HP book. Karen has tried to convince her (unsuccessfully) that it’s the most bor-ing HP book. It’s just something they’ll never agree on.
More about Nancy »

Note: Our copy of the book was sent by the publisher.


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