Corner Shop Book Review #1: Madame Pamplemousse and the Enchanted Sweet Shop

In which we look at the Corner Shop in ‘literature’…
In the interests of academic research and a more interesting blogsite, we have recently taken to reading the odd book whilst propping up the counter. Not any old pulp fiction, we’ll have you know: there are strict criteria. The book must be about shop life. We wanted to know how the corner shopkeeper is being portrayed out there, and set the record straight if necessary. This exercise is also, of course, a very good way of lending gravitas to the shopkeeper’s image….
Synopsis: Madame Pamplemousse and the Enchanted Sweetshop is the third in a series of kiddie books involving the eponymous magical madame (herself a deli owner), her cat Camembert, and their culinary adventures. Little Madeleine is being bullied at school by the spiteful Mirabelle, and is too embarassed to tell her friends, the wise Mme. Pamplemousse and her circle of gifted cronies. Sobbing in Notre Dame one day, the stupid child is befriended by a stranger, lured to said stranger’s sweet shop, and introduced to some rather addictive mood-enhancing sweets. Before long she finds herself drawn into a rather sinister in-between world, and comes to realise that Madame Bonbon is not who she seems, but rather Mme. Pamplemousse’s nemesis, hell-bent on stealing a secret time-travel machine…. We will refrain from telling you more because we can tell that you are totally all going out to buy this little tome and we don’t want to spoil the surprise.
Real Shop Cred: Well, we were attracted by the title, the pretty pink cover and the thought of something frivolous and easy to kick off this series. Just call us shallow. In truth the whole thing has little to do with shops, corner-shaped or otherwise, and so it scores a miserable zilch on the cred-ometer.
Buy, borrow or avoid: Well, some small people seem to like this book. It is the sort of book one might buy for one’s eight year old to try and preach to them about accepting sweets from strangers, drug addiction, bullying etc. But if we were eight (which we are not) we would find it facile and obvious. No, we are not cynics (yes, we believe in fairies). It took us half an hour to read on the train – make of that what you will. One to borrow from the library. Maybe.

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