Sunday, February 26, 2012

Review: The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie by Jaclyn Moriarty

The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie by Jaclyn Moriarty
The Ashbury/Brookfield Series #3
Review by Maggie: February 26, 2012
Published May 1, 2008 by Scholastic Inc. (orig. published 2006)

My best friend's mom is a doctor and one of the most patient, compassionate people I've ever met in my life. Whenever I hear about the latest disease, I immediately call her with my deadly symptoms. Now this same woman, after five minutes of watching Lea Michele in Glee, will ask, "What is that bitch doing now?" Lea Michele's character is just one of those people -- she can make people who have devoted their entire lives to helping others want to commit murder.

Now imagine reading 491 pages of Lea Michele's diary.

The first 150 pages, as you may have seen from my SOS masquerading as status updates, were excruciating.

But it's Jaclyn Moriarty!, I thought. I loved the first two books in the Ashbury series. (If you haven't read Feeling Sorry for Celia and The Year of Secret Assignments, I highly recommend them.) Surely this one is going to pick up. And it did -- after 200 pages that took me nearly two weeks to get through.

And the thing is, I ended up liking Bindy. I loved her sense of humor. In her Reflections on Glandular Fever (street name: mono) on page 222, she writes:

As for glandular fever, I don't believe in it. I don't think it exists. It's one of those "teenage" ailments that students invent to get themselves extra study time. I have no respect for it.

What I didn't like was the minutiae of her life carefully transcribed on the 200 pages prior. Sure, a lot of what Bindy wrote came into play later, but this isn't a Megan Whalen Turner book here, where every word and choice has meaning. I thought a lot of the first half could be cut. I didn't really start enjoying the novel until page 225, when the gang from The Year of Secret Assignments was mentioned, and then the story went full speed from there. I'll still read The Ghosts of Ashbury High... eventually... but I'm a bit hesitant after Bindy.

Final verdict: 3/5 stars -- 2 stars for the first half and 4 stars for the second half.

Full disclosure: I've only watched two episodes of Glee, both times against my will. In fairness to Lea Michele, I thought everyone was annoying.


  1. I totally agree that the beginning was a bit slow and that Bindy was annoying but once we found out why she was being extra annoying, I really started to sympathise with her. Don't get me wrong, I don't think I could be best buds with her but I felt sorry for her.

    Oh and I watch Glee (even though it's getting worse) and Rachel is my favourite character! I know, I know, I'm the only one who likes her!

  2. LOL, I only ever watched one episode of Glee (together with my dad, of all things) and we were both a little embarrassed everytime they started singing ... (I'm also embarrassed when Disney characters start to sing in movies, so that show was clearly not made for me.)

    I felt the same about this book at the beginning. Okay, it was a loooong beginning. But when things started getting together - FINALLY - I was hooked. Still, I believe if I hadn't read Jaclyn's other novels before, I might have given up on Bindy after about 150 pages.


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