- Explore more great deals on thousands of titles in our Deals in Books store.
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Andromeda Klein Hardcover – Bargain Price, August 25, 2009
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Special offers and product promotions
Starred Review, Booklist, August 1, 2009:
"With impish prose and ridiculously researched detail, Portman fully fleshes a one-of-a-kind character."
About the Author
Frank Portman (a.k.a. Dr. Frank) is the singer/songwriter/guitarist of the influential East Bay punk band the Mr. T. Experience (MTX). MTX has released about a dozen albums since forming in the mid 1980s. Andromeda Klein is Frank’s second book for young readers. Frank lives in Oakland, California. You can visit him online at www.frankportman.com.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
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...
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.
I really wanted to like this book because I enjoyed the author's first but just couldn't. Basically, it's about a "mousy" teen who is a wallflower by day, but a regular Hermione Granger anytime she does anything magical. She uses magic to solve the mystery of her friend's death, get even with her enemies and figure out what's going on with her "boyfriend." Other reviewers have mentioned the amount of background given on the arcane. That got somewhat annoying, but not as much as the following:
Every character appears to be competing for the title of Kookiest. This is okay when it's a few of the characters, but it becomes tedious when it's every single one of them. Moreover, each character is overloaded with weirdness to the point where they are no longer sympathetic, just caricatures you watch the same way you would talk show guests. The mom, for example, is not just an overbearing helicopter parent from hell, she's the daughter of the Australian FBI. One might suppose this is going to be relevant to the story, otherwise why bother to include it, but it's not. The book is filled with such dead ends.
Another problem is that while Andromeda is "weird," she's too high functioning for a teenager with the number of problems that she's given. Her friend just died, her mom is abusive and mentally ill, her dad's mentally ill, her supposed other friend really isn't much of one, she's ostracized, and her bike is stuck in a tree. Plus she's got serious health problems and no health insurance. Yet, she appears to be eating and sleeping normally, holding down a part time job and not in serious academic trouble. She drinks but avoids drugs. She does cry a couple of times, but the miracle is, it's not more. She's too well-adjusted for the level of dysfunction she's been exposed to. This is a character with no real support system for much of the book, plus it's a character who's going through puberty. Magic must give you amazing inner strength.
Most irritatingly, any kind of closure is avoided. We never find out the consequences of Andromeda's elaborate schemes or the serious allegations her best friend's mom makes against her. Nor do we even find out if she was misdiagnosed or if that makes her angry - this is a character who almost never gets angry. She just flees from the authorities, who are cool with it, to hang out with her boyfriend. I guess that's why it's called fiction. (And if there's going to be a sequel, great, but nowhere in the book is this mentioned.)
I'm going to give an extra star for the amount of research that must have gone into this book. Even if you dislike the book, you have to admit the author's done his homework.