Top critical review
One person found this helpful
'Befiddled' strives to teach the Alexander Method creatively but just misses
on July 13, 2006
As a high school violin student, I picked up every book, no matter what age category, related to the violin. 'Befiddled' was one of them.
This novel is clearly Pedro De Alcantara's attempt at subtly spreading the Alexander Method through writing. Regardless of how effective the Alexander Method is, Alcantara's writing just doesn't send the message to me to go out and try it. While I seemed to "get the idea" about the Alexander Method, it was in some quite strange ways through the use of the dog, Mara. This was even further pushed when Becky "becomes" the dog at her audition. Her barking at others doesn't really seem to connect with me. It felt like he visualized one way to spread the word (in this case, through dog language) and it ended up as a clumsy and unconvincing explanation.
I was also distracted by the strange "relationship" between Becky and Mr. Freeman; if not a little unlikely, it in a way unintentionally disturbing. While the idea was genuine, the entire relationship was perhaps maybe a bit overexaggerated and dramatic--the situation in which Becky and Mr. Freeman "have a moment" through Mr. Freeman's tears and Becky's heartful, "I love you Mr. Freeman," was maybe just expressed in an awkward way.
Overused but cute music/composer-related punches here and there help to set the classical music mood, and Becky's school life with classmates is also a key element that will help this book relate with kids.
Overall, the novel is moderately good. Alcantara has written something to stir a child's heart and crack a few smiles, especially if they are musical. However, there just seems to be a little something missing in this story...that little something that makes a book a bestseller, which Alcantara most likely has a better grip on as a musician.