by Edward Eager
It’s rare to stumble upon a book that makes you wish you were a kid again, just so you could read it for the first time while you were young. That’s exactly how I felt about Half Magic.
In the beginning the story is a simple tale of a magic charm which grants wishes in halves. By the end of the book Eager has captured a deeper essence of fear and pain that haunts not only children, but grown-ups as well. Even as adults we can baulk at life when we lose someone we love or must accept new circumstances we don’t enjoy.
The writing reminded me of Roald Dahl, which is the highest compliment I can give. The author portrays the kids so honestly. They were neither angels nor devils, they were just children. At times they were selfish or silly or scared, but all of those emotions rang true.
In one section (ch. 6) Eager describes the four categories that adults fall into when they are around children. It’s a brilliant description that’s both insightful and funny. Eager found that perfect balance of creating a wonderful story, while at the same time slipping in some life lessons.
Here’s a few great lines …
“All of the four children hated Charlie Chaplin, because he was the only thing grown-ups would ever take them to.”
“One of the least admirable things about people is the way they are afraid of whatever they don’t understand.”