The Casson family return, in the sequel to Saffy’s Angel, Indigo’s Star, and Permanent Rose! Each one of the previous book focused on one of the kids from second-oldest to youngest (Saffy, Indigo, and Rose, respectively), and I was wondering if Hilary McKay was going to jump back up to Caddy, the oldest daughter, and how that was going to work given that the target audience for the rest of the series is upper elementary and middle school territory (the family has been growing up as the books progress) and that Caddy is now in university. Instead, each section of the book is told from the point of view of one of the children in the family, starting and ending with the youngest, the indefatiguable Rose.
Here is what Rose has to say about her family:
These are the people who live at my house:
2. Mummy, who is called Eve. She is an artist. She does her art in a shed at the bottom of the garden. It is not true that Mummy calls everyone darling to save her bothering to remember names.
3. Indigo, who is my brother, and is five years older than me. Indigo is very tall and thin. With his eyes closed he looks dead. He always has, but no one has ever gotten used to it. This is bad luck for Indigo. It means that ever since he was a baby, frightened people have been shaking him awake to make sure he is still alive. Over the years, Indigo has grown more and more difficult to wake up.
4. Saffron. She is really my cousin but she is my adopted sister too. She is nearly fifteen and she is very pretty (like Caddy) and very clever (like Indio). When Saffron found out about yesterday at Ghost Club, she said “That’s one way of getting the carpet cleaned, Rosy Pose!” Saffron is ruthless.
These are the people who do not live at my house:
1.Daddy. He lives in London where he has a studio. Because he is an artist too. (He says.)
2. My grown-up sister Caddy who is at university. Before she went to university she kept more guinea pigs and hamsters than most people would want to own. She kept them all over the place There are still some guinea pigs left in a hutch in the garden, but the hamsters are all gone.
But where have they gone?
In “The Flying Feeling,” Rose is worried, because of Ghost Club at school. It’s just what it sounds like–she and her friends all huddle together to tell ghost stories. Rose’s (temporarily former) best friend Kiran tells the most horrific stories, that have always happened to someone in her extended family, so MUST be true. It’s Kiran’s stories that have Rose worried over a late-night thunderstorm and the possibility of ghost hamsters in the walls, and is what caused the unfortunate incident with the classroom carpet.
The second part, “This is How I Do Cool” is about Indigo, the school Valentine’s disco with its couples-only tickets, how Indigo takes over the tickets and music from Oscar the Mad Sixth-Former, and why Saffy’s best friend Sarah is in an awful mood.
In “Writing While Rose Watches,” Saffy has a falling-out with Sarah, who is supremely feisty, in a wheelchair, and would have been friends with the Casson family even longer if Rose at the age of five had allowed to finish what she was saying. Rose pointed over to Sarah with great excitement, saying “Look at the wheelchair girl!”, and got into a tussle with her father over rudeness, when all she wanted to say was “She’s got a new hat that’s just like my new hat!”, in which case they would not have spent the next five years uncomfortable avoiding Sarah. However, as you may have figured, it all worked out in the end and Sarah and Saffy have been near-inseparable since the events of Saffy’s Angel. Until now, when Sarah suffers a bout of illness, Saffy brings her an evil balloon, and there are unforseeable consequences.
It’s Caddy’s turn in “Probably the Real Thing,” in which she falls in love, which leads right into “Don’t Say A Word” by Rose, where there is a wedding in the works.
I love Hilary McKay’s stuff. She’s got that unmistakable British sense of humour–in the wry, funny way, not the Monty Python way–and for all of the slightly over-the-top goings-on in her books, her characters are still definitely very real people with very real reactions, emotions, and motivations. Caddy Ever After is warm, laugh-out-loud funny, and the plot builds up like a haphazard jumble of dominos that all connect and fall together in the end.