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Granny Paperback – January 8, 2009
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Anthony Horowitz has become a better writer in many ways since he wrote Granny, which has a few plot flaws holding it back. But the humor, the horror, and the fast pace of this satirical little book bumped my three-star review up to a four. Yeah, the ending feels kinda slapped on and is not quite as funny as the rest. The elderly cabal's motivations are a little unconvincing, as well. But the parts that work are worth it.
My own grandmother passed away at the age of ninety-seven last year, and I'm not sure what she would have thought of Horowitz's book. My mother, on the other hand, is a grandmother ten times over--and her favorite Christmas song is "Grandma Got Run Over by a Raindeer." Just think of that song, and you'll have made a good start on understanding the tone of this book.
Basically, Anthony Horowitz takes all of the WORST possible characteristics of grandmothers and then cranks them up several notches. Perhaps the funniest thing he does is make all those irritating old lady qualities the manifestations of a very real conspiracy on the part of a bunch of grandmothers--to the point where the old ladies have a secret convention and give out awards for things like Difficult Shopper: "Congratulations to Betty Brush for buying half an ounce of every single meat on display at her local supermarket, a performance that took three hours and kept sixty-one people waiting."
So when Joe's evil granny gives him icky lipsticky kisses, calls him by the wrong name, or feeds him foods like over-salted greenish egg-salad sandwiches and an entire block of cream cheese, she does it on purpose to torture him. Unfortunately, Joe's wealthy parents are pretty much oblivious to his needs, though they do avoid Granny themselves (his father hides inside the piano at one point). Even more unfortunately, Joe's granny has something far worse in mind for her grandson. Soon Joe's only allies, his nanny and the gardener, are the victims of his murderous grandmother, and Joe is left alone to find out just what Granny has planned.
Another reviewer has mentioned Roald Dahl: the granny convention reminds me of the witches' convention in Dahl's book, The Witches, simply because the devious ladies in both books conspire with such RELISH again small children! Dahl is really a pretty good point of comparison for the subversive tone of Horowitz's Granny.
I'm sure any grandmother lacking a funny bone might object, but it's all very tongue-in-cheek. Taken in that spirit, you and your kids might get a real kick out of watching Joe try to escape the clutches of his horrible Granny.
Let is be known: Anthony Horowitz is Roald Dahl incarnated! If this was not yet clear from his other works, it becomes too obvious while reading Granny. The ease with which Anthony gives life to his characters is simply amazing. With a few lines he is capable of drawing an evil granny that becomes frightening to even the most mature adult. His narrative is filled venomous comments that will force you to do more than just smile. On top of this all, you get a storyline that is thrilling and extremely imaginative. To summarise: Granny is 150 pages of pure fun! A must read!