I started reading this series as a favour for my best friend, who at the time did not enjoy reading and was forced to read a book for school anyway (yes, we sometimes cheated like that in primary school, but who doesn’t). She chose this book because of the cover and I thought it was rather beautiful as well, so I said, why not, I’ll read it for you and tell you what happens. Boy, am I glad I actually did read it. So let’s meet the family!
The eldest Cadmium is a teenager and madly in love with her driving instructor. Also, she collects hamsters and Guinea pigs. Then there is Saffron, the main character in the book, who at the beginning finds out she was actually adopted and so her siblings became her cousins. Indigo, the only boy in the family, wants to travel to the South pole and so he keeps testing his fear of heights by hanging from the windowsill of his bedroom (it’s not as dangerous as it sounds, he always makes sure he holds on to something). And then there is Rose, the youngest, the artistic one, who paints on walls and always answers the phone. Their mother Eve is also an artist and she spends most of her time in her garden shed, painting away, while their father Bill, also an artist, but a proper one, divides his time between London and his family (London usually wins).
When Saffy realizes she is adopted, something in her changes and so she desperately wants to find out more about her old life. She meets a new friend Sarah, who ends up crafting the most brilliant plan of going to Siena, where Saffy used to live, and retrieving the stone angel that her grandfather left her. Cadmium is busy flirting with Michael, her driving instructor, who keeps bragging about his amazing girlfriend, and that actually helps Caddy study for her exams. Indigo gets better and better with his fear of heights and darling Rose keeps annoying their father by talking nonsense on the phone. The three siblings manage to find Saffy’s angel and bring it to her when she returns from Siena, thinking the angel is lost.
This book is insanely funny, on occasions even terribly sad, but always written in such a way that you just know everything will be all right at the end. It makes you feel happier and better about life in general. I think everyone can find bits and pieces of themselves in the characters which are so well written and their development is slow but persistent, just like it usually is in real life. I fell in love with all of them and I am not ashamed to admit that this series is still very close to my heart even though I am not a kid anymore.
Michael allowed himself to look at Caddy for the first time since she had climbed into the car. It was a moment that he always put off for as long as possible because his concentration was never quite the same afterwards.
Hilary McKay, Saffy’s angel