[I got a copy of this book in an Early Reviewer give-away at librarything. I don’t think it’s tainted my judgment, though.]
It’s the 1950s. Ganady is sixteen and spends most of his time thinking about baseball and the games he watches through time eddies with his best friend Yevgeniy and Mr. O. The rest of the time, he thinks about the big questions in life, which he tries to answer with the help of his Jewish grandmother, his priest and her rabbi. And then his baba tells him the beginning of a fairy tale about an enchanted princess and Ganny suddenly finds himself in the middle of his own story revolving around baseball, cockroaches and the mysterious Svetlana.
A Princessof Passyunk starts off really sweet. So sweet, in fact, that I didn’t really mind the religious themes, which usually really aren’t my cup of tea. But then the entire story goes on too long and becomes really weird.
I very much enjoyed the beginning of this book. Ganady is a sweet boy and I liked the way he looks for explanations and asks questions. I also liked his baba a lot and the way the magic is slowly infused in the story. But when I wanted a happy end already, there was yet another turn of events that prolonged everything. And after this unnecessary turn, the ending is hurried. It comes too quick and is too clean, goes from the darkest the story has been to happily ever after in too little steps.
I also was a little sorry for Ganady’s brother and his friend; or rather their respective girls, absolutely eclipsed by Svetlana’s perfection. Svetlana being a little less perfect and a little more human would have generally been nice.
But apart from that, it was a sweet, fun read. I don’t know if it’s actually a fairy tale retelling, but it does feel like one and until the showdown where the pacing jolted me out of the atmosphere a bit, I really loved that slightly magical feeling of this world. The 1950s and fairy tales go surprisingly well together.