Friday, December 20, 2013

The Man Who Was Poe

The Man Who Was Poe is a middle grade/YA historical mystery novel by AVI.

It’s been two days since Sis and Edmund’s aunt left them to hide in a solitary room. The food’s run out and though Edmund desperately wants to follow his aunt’s final directions of not leaving the room until she returns, he sneaks into the shadowy streets of 19th century Providence, Rhode Island to buy some bread.

He’s only gone minutes. But when he returns, though the door is still locked – Sis is gone.

When a strange man offers to help Edmund find his sister, Edmund’s desperate fear causes him to agree.

Yet the man is volatile, gloomy and seems to have his own agenda.

Will this man help Edmund find Sis? Does Edmund have a choice but to let him try?

The Man Who Was Poe has a lightly spooky, lightly atmospheric tone. This tone increases as Mr. Dupin, the man who offers to help Edmund – and who may also be actually Edgar Allan Poe – becomes more illuminated.

Mr. Dupin is creepy, disturbingly unstable and truly unpredictable. I definitely did not find him likable, and don’t suspect I was supposed to. His character made for a rather sad overall feel from The Man Who Was Poe because poor Edmund has to deal with this horrid man while searching for his sister!

Essentially all alone in his worry, Edmund’s concern over those he loves is never met with any empathy by Mr. Dupin – so throughout the book I just felt wretched for the young boy. Made the book a bit depressing, though the plot was interesting.

The Man Who Was Poe tells a mystery – in the end it is outshone by the unsettling, ambiguous mood that Mr. Dupin (Poe) creates in his rather delusional obsession with death.

It was a different sort of read.

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