Eating into the time I allot to books of my own, I took time off to read Krindlekrax, by Philip Ridley. I brought it home from the library after reading a review of childrens' authors which mentioned his name. Kelly picked it up, read it in one day, and approached me Saturday evening with tears in her eyes. The book made her think of Grendl, our deceased family cat.
I felt bad, so I agreed to read the book to try to better understand her feelings. It turns out that the hero of the book has an adult friend who means a lot to him, and gives him gifts, physical and intangible, which enable him to transform his life for the better. But this adult friend dies late in the book.
The story is whimsical and fantastic, so to insert something so sombre in the middle felt like something of a betrayal to Kelly (sort of like I felt watching The Purple Rose of Cairo, a whimsical film by Woody Allen that ends in tragedy and tears). Why do authors do this? It's one thing to introduce a child to the idea of tragedy in a dramatic novel. It's quite another to sucker punch 'em when their guard is down.
Anyway, it was actually a pretty good book, and I would have to agree that Philip Ridley's writing bears a strong resemblance to Roald Dahl's.