Book review

Saffy's Angel by Hilary McKay (2002)

Here's a light-hearted story, if you fancy something jolly and gentle.

The Casson family are madly artistic: well, mad anyway. Indigo calls them his pack. That's because he's got three mad sisters who are always up to something, and a mad mother who is always in the garden shed preoccupied with her painting. She's an artist, you see. So is Indigo's father, but he works away from home in a nice quiet studio, away from the hurly burly of the Casson household. Well, if you don't call it hurly burly, you might have to call it a mess.

Did I say three mad sisters? Maybe I meant two. How do you know whether you are a genuine, bona fide Casson? Saffron runs a check on the colour chart pinned up on the kitchen wall. She can find Cadmium, Cadmium Gold, that is. Caddy's the eldest. And she can find Indigo. He's the only boy. And she can find Permanent Rose. She's the baby.

'There isn't a Saffron,' said Saffron after another long search. 'I've looked, and there isn't! I've read it all, and there isn't!'

Hmm. Well, that's conclusive proof, as it happens.

She's not very happy about it, but she could have lived with it, until Grandad died, and left her something in his will:

For Saffron. Her angel in the garden.

That's what starts it all off. The angel. Saffy thinks she can remember it, sort of, from her first life before the colour chart on the kitchen wall. And Saffy wants it. She just has to find it, because nobody knows where it is.

If you fancy a bit of a romp, this is the book for you. It's not very profound, nor is it very likely. It's gentle, and funny, and very well written:

What can I read next?

If you enjoy Saffy's Angel you might like to look at the Exiles trilogy, also by Hilary McKay:

  • The Exiles
  • The Exiles at Home
  • The Exiles in Love

If you are interested in Saffy's identity crisis, after she discovers that she is adopted, you would probably enjoy this story by Jacqueline Wilson:

Or you might like to read anything by Anne Fine, who also writes about real life experiences, with a light, humorous touch:

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