A giveaway prize of my choice received with thanks from GMR at SATISFACTION FOR INSATIABLE READERS . Having read all about this novel on several blogs, I so wanted to enjoy it but sadly didn't.
When Milton and Marlo Fauster die in a marshmallow-bear explosion, they get sent straight to Heck, an otherworldy reform school. Milton can understand why his kleptomaniac sister is here, but Milton is - or was - a model citizen. Has a mistake been made?
Not according to Bea 'Elsa' Bubb, the Principal of Darkness. She doesn't make mistakes. Or tolerate them. She personally sees to it that Heck - whether it be at home ec class with Lizzie Borden, ethics with Richard Nixon, or gym with Blackbeard the pirate - is especially; well, heckish for the Fausters. But the principal just might have underrated Milton's smarts and Marlo's nerve. Will the two find a way to escape? Or are they stuck here for all eternity, or until they turn eighteen, whichever comes first?
.... From the outer back cover.
FIRST SENTENCE (From the foreword): As many believe, there is a place above and a place below.
MEMORABLE MOMENT: The only unbland things about her were her eyes - dark and dangerous as an abandoned well - and the fact that she was cutting out a dress pattern with an ax.
All throughout the reading of this book, I couldn't help but feel that the author was somhow trying to step into the shoes of the late Roald Dahl - something he failed at totally. Perhaps it was the characters, many of whom seemed to fall into that kind of 'revolting but with redeeming features that made them rather lovable' that Dahl was so good at or maybe it was the way the other, truly revolting, characters (adults on the whole) all seemed to get their 'just rewards'.
But you know to me the main problem with Heck is that the author just couldn't quite decide what age group he was aiming for and as a result the book seemed to be somewhat a mish-mash.
I think the whole would work well as an animated film where you can get away with relying so heavily on pitching things at both an adult as well as a children's audience but with a novel this just doesn't work.
Too full 'toilet' humour for my liking and relying way too much on puns, I managed an occassional smile reading this novel but never a laugh. Not nearly as clever or as funny as the author seems to think it is, I couldn't help but be disappointed.