Friday, November 14, 2014

GadgetJax reviews: The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm

During this November, our Teen group had a special kind of Book Discussion called "Speed Dating with a book". It is a fun little activity that involves pretty much choosing from pre-determined books, reading the first few pages, then giving our opinions. It's pretty fun, and one of the books that I chose to bring back home with me was 'The Fourteenth Goldfish.' 

At first, it looked very promising, with a more unique story than most books. But then, it turned into a combination of the following 2 things.
Those things are 'false advertising' and 'filler'. The main premise of the story is like this; Ellie is a child in Pre-School. Her entire class is assigned to a project, where every student gets to take a Goldfish home and take care of it. Every kid gets their goldfish, and goes home with it, and being young children, the students don't know how to care for pets correctly, and everyone's goldfish dies within a few weeks, except for Ellie's. The goldfish Ellie ends up living with her until she turns 11 years old, then dies. 

Ellie is surprised that her goldfish was able to live longer than everyone else, until her mother tells her about what actually happened. You see, Ellie's goldfish died within a few weeks as well, just like everyone else. However, her mother would continuously get a new goldfish for her, without Ellie knowing. The goldfish that died when Ellie was 11 was actually the 14th goldfish(haha) every owned by her. Pretty neat story, huh?

Well, that is the first chapter.

Yes, this is what I meant by 'false advertising'. After Chapter 1, the story follows Ellie growing up, and her life in Middle School. The Goldfishes that she took care of are almost never mentioned again through the story. This is why I was a bit upset by the book when I first picked it up. It felt like I just read a toddler's book, then moved on to a standard Juvenile Fiction story. I normally wouldn't mind that, but in the case of this story, this is to be considered as 'false advertising', since the cover specifies that I will be reading a book about a Goldfish. 

As for the rest of the story, it is actually pretty good. Ellie's Grandfather invents a special medication that can reverse a person's age, and Ellie's Grandfather tries it out. It works as planned, but because he now looks like a Teenager, his co-workers end up assuming him for a Trespassing Teenager, and he gets throw out of his own laboratory. The rest of the story follows Ellie and her now Teenage Grandfather (and a few other surprise characters) trying to get him back to normal age. It is a fun story, but if I do have anything to say, is that it falls prey to heavy use of 'filler', like I previously mentioned.

...but what is filler? Filler is a term for a portion in a story, be it a Movie, Video Game, or Book, where absolutely nothing important happens in the plot. Sometimes, this isn't that bad, like if the Filler occurring is at least funny. Unfortunately, The Fourteenth Goldfish really isn't that great at humor. 

Still, I found The Fourteenth Goldfish to be quite entertaining. It wasn't great, but still fun to read, for the most part.


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