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Amazon.com: 18 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Realistic, quirky, relatable characters with an intriguing story and a lot of magic. 7 Sept. 2009
By A. Finch - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Library Binding
I found this on the New Books shelf at my library on Friday, and after checking to see what sort of book it was I decided to grab it before anyone else could get it and read it immediately. I finished on Saturday and WOW! I love it. It's long, but it's totally worth it.

The book as a whole is sweetly awkward, quirky, and fun-in-a-slightly-dark way (like a clown crying while telling jokes, for example). Some parts remind me a lot of my own high school (and middle school) experiences, which is probably why I identified with Andromeda so much-- she could be an alternate me, and Daisy could be an alternate version of my best friend from that time. It was a little bit spooky, but mostly it was very cool.

I really liked Andromeda (not just because she's an alternate me). Even when she's acting crazy and ridiculous, mostly regarding boys and how she lets people treat her (read: like a doormat), I was interested in her life and what she was going to do next. I loved how she treated books like sacred things, and how she wanted to save the best books from being discarded from the library where she works. I also was really interested in how she preferred the more traditional sorts of occultism and shunned the more New Age, fluffier magic; it was very refreshing since so many new books seem to have only the Buffy-the-Vampire-Slayer-Wicca-magic-thing and I hate that. It's nice to see a character actually do something different from that for once, and as a bonus Andromeda doesn't even call herself a witch (she's an "occultist") nor does she cut herself and recite depressing poems to the moon (um, for example).

Andromeda is refreshing in a non-occult way as well. Many times did I giggle when she misheard someone: "vacuum" for "bathroom," "Sylvester Mouse" for "some extra hours," and so on. And I liked how she'd say that the person meant to say "pagan" but said "bacon" instead, like it was their fault and not her hearing. She's quirky and funny while not being over the top and, yeah, I really liked her. The other characters were sort of negligible, and I still don't have any idea what the heck is up with her parents and I have no idea how Andromeda managed to stay with them for so long when they're NUTS. Some of the secondary characters are better than others, but the book is really about Andromeda and so I tended only to care about them in relation to her life.

The book itself does move sort of slow, I suppose, but I didn't mind as I was too busy being proud that Andromeda knew so much about the occult when she was so young, enough to rattle off names and dates and numbers and so on when I can't even remember what I ate for lunch last Monday. It was much like watching my kid brother in a quiz bowl beating out the competition because he knew who the 15th President of the US was, or something. And since I was interested in the occult as a kid I actually recognized and understood most of it (though I never managed to make it through any of the actual books Andromeda talks about. Too boring for a 12 year old.) but I don't think you need to be an occultist yourself to get it. Pretty much everything is explained, so I'm sure no one would be left behind or get frustrated, and then, instead of focusing on the little stuff (like Hebrew letters) you can focus on the plot and how it ends up working out so satisfyingly! I love satisfying endings.

The events in Andromeda Klein can be interpreted in two ways: either she really is doing magic or she's projecting things out of her psyche in some Freudian, psychological way that I don't care to learn about because it's boring (no offense to psychologists). I choose to go with she really was doing magic and she wasn't projecting, though I admit it's a little interesting to consider it the other way-- it gives the book a whole different feeling, as well. But, yeah, I like the urban-bordering-on-fantasy way best. It's more fun.

I couldn't help but think of Zilpha Keatley Snyder's The Headless Cupid, one of my favorite books, and it does very much feel like that book but set in a different time/place/situation. It was sort of comforting, too, I suppose because I love The Headless Cupid so much. (It also reminded me of Sarah Dessen's Keeping the Moon, another favorite book of mine. Not that Keeping the Moon has any magic in it; it's the characters and how they act/talk that triggered the reminding.)

If you haven't got your own copy already, get one NOW. It's worth it.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Better than King Dork 23 Sept. 2009
By weezeruasox - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I read Frank Portman's first book, King Dork, and while it showed a lot of promise, I didn't love it. After just finishing Andromeda Klein, I'm happy to report that it's a simply stellar offering. The characters ring entertainingly and hilariously true, which was one of my major complaints about King Dork. The best advice I can give is to not get too bogged down in all of the references to the occult. It isn't necessary to Google what every foreign term means to really enjoy Andromeda and her story. Follow that suggestion and you'll be bummed you have to wait so long for Portman's next book -- just like me.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
My grimoire 28 July 2013
By Daisy Dickinson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
1) I've read it 3 times and it's in my bag to read at any moment I want 2) Every time I read it I find something new to admire 3) I have nearly completed my masters in English literature so I have at least some minimal standards ...
4) There is a hidden something in this book - something besides the story and the characters - maybe a spell embedded somehow, because it is profoundly, deeply satisfying to read in a way that never gets stale 5) Magic 6) Synaesthesia
7) Dreams 8) A library-temple 9) Books 10) A hard of hearing character! 11) A labor of love, obviously, love of someone?, an act of devotion ..this book teaches how to live with visions...and voices...
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Couldn't get into it 30 Sept. 2009
By C. G. Weyhing - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I loved "King Dork" so of course I picked up this book. After fifty pages I couldn't get into it, so I came back to Amazon to read all the glowing reviews. Inspired, I tried again, I really tried, but one hundred and fifty pages later I still found myself unable to get into the story. I didn't like Andromeda, I didn't care about the mini mysteries like St. Steve, and I didn't find Andromeda's faulty interpretations of others' words funny. And above all else, I very quickly tired of reading about all the tarot cards, magic, etc.

I'll give Mr. Portman's next book a try because "King Dork" was so good, but this one is not for me. Two stars in deference to the other reviews and to my inability to finish the book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
An Analysis of Andromeda Klein with respect to King Dork 21 Nov. 2009
By Carbon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This review is intended for those who have read King Dork, Portman's brilliant first novel, and are considering Andromeda Klein.
Andromeda Klein is definitely a different book than King Dork (impressively so), and while it has a literary theme (to some degree) it doesn't match King Dork's marvelous theme of interpersonal-revelation-through-literature. Both a pro and a con of Andromeda is that it deals with topics and books I know next to nothing about -- tarot and the occult -- in rather exacting detail. That is to say, there are many opportunities for both befuddlement and education.

But, the other themes regarding mental processes and the various methods of "divination" are delightfully subtle and unexpected. Perhaps even too subtle -- some of the more pathological/disturbing aspects never get formally addressed. Portman's choice to go that route is incredibly bold, so much so that I spent the latter half of the novel waiting for a devastating revelation that never happened. Frankly and inexplicably, the suspense thereof and it's lack of denouement are really satisfying.

Also, weirdly, all of the men to whom I recommended King Dork LOVED it and all the women just liked it -- and there was some consensus that it was a "boy book." I'd not say that, but I'm not a woman -- then again, i like many "chick flicks" so I don't think I'm strictly gender normative. Anyway, I think Portman conjures a convincing and original experience of high school from a young woman's perspective. The female characters are really colorful, but believably so. And it's crazy-witty, with those contemporary references to cell phones and such that convince you an (approaching-)literary novel CAN mention "the internet" without seeming disingenuous. I'm now engaged in trying to push Andromeda on all the King-Dork naysayers. :) Although, whereas King Dork I'd recommend to anyone who has had to read Catcher in the Rye, I don't think I'll recommend the otherwise-recommendable Andromeda very often -- it's quality but not quite the touchstone that King Dork has proven itself to be.
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