19 March 2010

M Is for Magic

M Is for Magic
M Is for Magic

So I've read a few Neil Gaiman books of all kinds (comics, YA, full length adult novels) and thus far the absolute worst I could say about any of them has been that it was "Okay", so when I saw this one cheap on Kindle I figured why not, surely I couldn't go wrong. Well, except for the fact that I was seeing mixed reviews. Upon further review of the reviews I noticed something. The really bad ones all seemed to center around one theme -- It appears in the 9-12 year old category and there seems to be much debate about if it belongs there. I figured I'd read it and decide for myself if those complaints were warranted.

While I am no prude and do think my nephew (who is about to turn 9 as I write this) is actually mature enough to read this book, I could see why some parents would object. What could parents object to? Well: There is a description of a nude troll, he's male if that tells you anything about what you'll find in this book. No? Okay well we learn that a teenage boy wants to touch breasts. Or that a married man appreciates getting "laid" by women other than his wife. A certain word that rhymes with witch makes an appearance. There's some drinking (including by teens).

These references are brief and are not graphic. In fact what I've just typed here, that's about it for the questionable material I think, and about as graphic as it is in the book (other than my editing of that one word here). I suspect most children have seen, heard, and read worse especially if they've watched any tv or movies. Then again, yes some parents would find it a bit much for the average 9 year old. So while it claims to be a book for reading levels ages 9-12, well yes a 9 year old could probably read this book with no problems but it's up to you to decide if they're mature enough to handle brief mentions of nudity and sex (as I said, not graphic, but still there in passing). I'd probably suggest Coraline or InterWorld instead if you want to introduce your younger child to Neil Gaiman before this one (of the ones I personally know now anyway).

That said, I'll be rating it as an adult reader. Did Humpty Dumpty REALLY have a great fall? What about the troll under the bridge, what's his story? What's the deal with Jack in his box? What happens when the months of the year get together? Is finding the Holy Grail really a good thing? Who or what really scratches up the cat? Things like this are what make up the short stories in M is for Magic. It's a fun fast read. Fans of Neil Gaiman will probably have read much of this before. Me? I'd only read the passage from The Graveyard book so I loved it as it was new to me and yes quite magical. 4/5 stars



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