Review Blog

Jul 31 2013

Finding Serendipity by Angelica Banks

cover image

Allen and Unwin, 2013. ISBN 9781743310311.
Recommended especially for young would be authors.
Angelica Banks is the pen name of two friends who decided collaborate, writing their first children's book. Whilst it is an adventure story it is also a lesson in story writing, books and the magic of words.
Serendipity Smith is a famous writer whose character Vivienne Small is always prepared and participates in some amazing adventures mostly involving Mothwood, the Pirate and his gang of cutthroats. In day to day life she is Sarah McGillycuddy, wife and mother of Tuesday.
When she has almost finished her latest book, Serendipity appears to have disappeared from her writing room with her manuscript unfinished. Desperate to find her mother, Tuesday enters her writing room and begins typing on her mother's typewriter. With her trusty dog Baxterr (with two r's) the words she writes transport to the magical place where writers go.
With the help of young writer Blake Luckhurst and the Librarian she begins to understand that she has become a writer and will not return home until she reaches The End. Tuesday knows that her mother is at the end and so must travel from The Beginning, through The Middle and then to The End before she can hope to find her, or return home, since she has surrendered her ball of silver, the beginning of her story, to the Librarian for safekeeping.
Since her quest is to find her mother she seeks out Vivienne Small who of course lives in this land of stories and imagination in the hope that her mother would be near. Thus, Tuesday, Baxterr and Vivienne embark on an adventure which involves Mothwood, his ship, The Silverfish, and its crew of cutthroats.
Whilst Tuesday's adventure is the story, the role of the writer is central to the plot and is the main theme throughout the book. It is a writer's world they are in. Serendipity changes the ending of her story with severe consequences for all the characters. Blake is off to write his action packed thriller and returns to the Library when things don't quite work out, but won't give up until he has his book sorted out. Tuesday is in despair to find a way to The End and until she understands she is writing a story and the end is not a place on a map but in her imagination can she return home. As the Librarian reminds her, 'You are the writer, . . . . . So it is up to you to find an ending to make your eyes sparkle and your heart race.'
My favourite character would have to be the Librarian promoting writers and holding beginnings of stories in the hope the writers will finish them. As Blake tells Tuesday 'The Librarian's cool, but man is she obsessed with books'.
Sue Keane

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