The Death Defying Pepper Roux by Geraldine McCaughrean
Book of the Month
When Pepper Roux was born his aunt foretold that he would not live past 14 years of age. Throughout his childhood his parents haven't bothered with him much, knowing that his life would be short-lived. So when Pepper wakes up on his 14th birthday he knows this will be the day that he'll die. But as the day wears on, and Pepper finds himself still alive, he decides to set off to sea in an attempt to try and avoid death for as long as possible. As time goes on Pepper steps into many roles and personas and has numerous outrageous adventures. But can he stay one step ahead of death? Or will fate catch up with him? And, if he does live, which of his many lives will he choose to adopt? This riot of a story is a wonderful adventure, and Pepper is an unforgettable character who stays with you long after his story has been told.
The Death Defying Pepper Roux is a delightful and whimsical book that highlights the power and wonder of imagination. Sometimes authors give us what we want and we are delighted – Geraldine McCaughrean does exactly that, and then adds more for good measure.
If I had to find a comparison in order to describe the book to a complete stranger I would immediately say Amelie. Amelie is a French film, starring Audrey Tautou, and has much in common with this book being French, magical and featuring an endearing and innocent central lead.
The individual threads of the story are beautifully woven together. This is a charming book, often surreal, always humorous but with an underlying darkness that often shows man’s - and to a much lesser extent, woman’s – inherent cruelty, often casual but nevertheless evident.
McCaughrean also has a gift when it comes to causality. The consequences of everything that Pepper says and does are shown brilliantly.
Pepper Roux is a boy that every reader will warm to. There is not a bad bone in his body and his treatment at the hands of some truly despicable adults will have readers feeling righteous indignation. As the last pages draw closer you hope that Pepper will get the happy ending that he deserves.
Philip Pullman and JK Rowling have produced books that have thrilled and delighted younger readers; books that have sold millions of copies. McCaughrean is a better author than Rowling and Pullman put together; she has a mastery over words. Please don’t think I am being uncharitable to Rowling and Pullman – their books have resulted in youngsters reading again and they both deserve honours for what they have achieved - it’s just that writers like Geraldine McCaughrean and Michael Morpurgo are masters of their craft.
This is a book I will never forget. Highly recommended for older children and young adults.
Geraldine McCaughrean was born in 1951 and brought up in North London. She studied at Christ Church College of Education, Canterbury and worked in a London publishing house for 10 years before becoming a full-time writer in 1988. She has written over 120 books, 50 short plays for schools, and a radio play. Her adult novels include Fires’ Astonishment (1990) and The Ideal Wife (1997), but she is best-known for her children’s books. She writes for children of all ages, from first readers, picture books, and younger children’s books, to children’s novels, which include A Little Lower than the Angels (1987), Gold Dust (1993) and Not the End of the World (2004), each of which have won the Whitbread Children’s Book Award, making her the only writer to have won this award three times. Geraldine McCaughrean has also written several collections of stories, including bible stories and fairy tales. She specialises in the retelling of classic tales such as The Canterbury Tales (1984), The Odyssey (1993), Moby Dick (1996) and El Cid (1989) and of myths and legends from around the world. These books include The Orchard Book of Greek Myths (1992) and The Orchard Book of Roman Myths (1999). Geraldine McCaughrean lives in Berkshire. Her book, Not the End of the World, is currently being adapted for the stage. White Darkness (2005), was shortlisted for the 2005 Whitbread Children's Book Award. In 2005, she was chosen to write the official sequel to J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan. Peter Pan in Scarlet was published in 2006.
This The Death Defying Pepper Roux book review was written by Floresiensis
Have you read The Death Defying Pepper Roux?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
The Death Defying Pepper Roux reader reviews
Kai from Manchester
It's so bad and JK Rowling is better than her.
B from US
Great, funny book, one of my favorites
Rebecca from Sussex
This story that follows Pepper from his ill-omened fourteenth birthday through numerous escapades is a little gem. I had not come across any of McCaughrean's work before but I will certainly be reading more in the future. Pepper is a lovely lead, a boy that is impossible not to warm too, and he is ably supported by a delightful array of memorable characters. A wonderful story from a gifted author.
7.6/10 from 4 reviews
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
On a dark, silvery moonlit night, Sophie is snatched from her bed by a giant. Luckily it is the Big Friendly Giant, the BFG, who only eats snozzcumbers and glugs frobscottl...
The Iron Man
Mankind must put a stop to the dreadful destruction by the Iron Man and set a trap for him, but he cannot be kept down. Then, when a terrible monster from outer space threa...
The Edge Chronicles
Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
Fourteen-year-old Quint Verginix is the only remaining son of famous sky-pirate Wind Jackal. He and his father have journeyed to the city of Sanctaphrax – a great flo...
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
For the first time in a decade, Willy Wonka, the reclusive and eccentric chocolate maker, is opening his doors to the public--well, five members of the public, actually. Th...
Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator
Charlie Bucket has won Willy Wonka's chocolate factory and is on his way to take possession of it - in none other than a great glass elevator! But when the elevator mak...
Through the Looking-Glass
Dangerous games in a topsy-turvy world. A winter’s day, and Alice is feeling thoughtful. Gazing into a huge mirror above the drawing room mantelpiece, she wonders wha...
The Twits are a couple that nobody would like to know. They are hairy, dirty, smelly and generally unpleasant. Roald Dahl's characters are possibly the most horrid peop...
The Boy Who Fell Down Exit 43
For a millionth of a second the car grazed the drenched moorland. If it had come down on any other patch of ground Finn would simply have been another statistic. Death by d...
Nick and the Glimmung
Philip K Dick
Nick and his family are forced to leave Earth in order for him to keep his cat, Horace - because all pets are now banned, as they use up badly needed resources. They settle...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
A corrupted city. A dark dream of power. Luke is a prisoner, condemned for a murder he didn’t commit. Abi is a fugitive, desperate to free him before magic breaks his mind. But as the Jardines tighten their grip on a turbulent Britain, brother and sister face a fight greater than their own. New alliances and old feuds will remake the natio...
The Fifth Empire of Man
Rob J Hayes
The Pirate Isles are united under Drake Morrass’ flag, but the war has only just begun. There’s still a long way to go before he’s able to call himself Ki...
Ian C Esslemont
After the disappointments of Li Heng, Dancer and Kellanved wash up on a small insignificant island named Malaz. Immediately, of course, Kellanved plans to take it over. To ...
Age of Swords
Michael J Sullivan
Raithe, the God Killer, may have started the rebellion by killing a Fhrey, but long-standing enmities dividing the Rhunes make it all but impossible to unite against the co...
A Time of Dread
The Ben-Elim, a race of warrior angels, once vanquished a mighty demon horde. Now they rule the Banished lands. But their dominion is brutally enforced and their ancient en...
The Last Dog on Earth
Adrian J Walker
Every dog has its day... And for Lineker, a happy go lucky mongrel from Peckham, the day the world ends is his: finally a chance to prove to his owner just how loyal he can...
The Shadow Crucible
Taking humanity back to their primordial beliefs and fears, Estella confronts Mikhail’s faith by revealing the true horror of the lucrative trade in human souls. All ...