Skip to main content

Book Review: The People Who Watched Her Pass By by Scott Bradfield

"...But it's definitely how kids live today, constantly being monitored and tended, exercised and educated until they're as docile as sheep. Only they don't produce anything useful, like wool or lamb chops. They just shuffle along, doing what they're told, thinking what they're supposed to. They never surprise you. They're always the same as everybody else."

I like this little novella. I liked it before I even read it. Glancing at the cover and the synopsis, I knew that I would more likely than not enjoy it, and, oddly enough, I was right. It's the slice of literature that I've been looking for.

"The People Who Watched Her Pass By" is about a little girl, Salome, or Sal, as she's called, who is kidnapped by a man who is hired to fix the hot water heater. She's three years old at the time, although I don't think her age is ever said in the book, since Sal herself is not aware of how old she is. It's told in third person, but in Salome's perspective. We see everything the way she sees it, so it's not surprising that the people she meets are not entirely drawn or that the events are vague. Even the transitions from chapter to chapter are abrupt most of the time, and the characters don't hang around for long. We definitely get to know them enough, though. She comes across a few weirdoes as well as some nice people.

Sal never stays with anyone for long. Either they abandon her or she abandons them. She never becomes attached to anyone, save for her "Daddy", perhaps, the man who took her. Everyone else is disposable and everyone and every place she comes across is temporary. Sal really is a self-centered, arrogant little girl, and she thinks like an adult, and probably sees herself as one.

The story can actually be disturbing at times, but I have to admit, I was never disturbed by it. I think it's because of the way it was written. It's humorous and a social satire, never heavy. I never felt that Sal was in danger. It never made me believe that anything terrible would happen. Sal certainly views everything with passive interest, so if she was ever treated badly or neglected (which she was in one way or another by just about everyone), she barely seems to notice and soon forgets it anyway. I don't think anything truly horrible happened to her physically, I'm just pointing out her attitude. She was conditioned to not love or care deeply about anyone after she was taken, or maybe she was always that way. Who knows? So now she prefers to wander from place to place, person to person, and do whatever she wants. She doesn't like being told what to do, which is too bad for her since she's just a little kid.

This is a good read. For me, anyway. It can get caught up in Sal's wise philosophy at times and become dull, but overall it's good. And it's short.

My grade: A-


Popular posts from this blog

Movie Review: The Secret Life of Arrietty


As someone who grew up watching "The Borrowers", that lovely British gem from the early 90s starring Ian Holm and Penelope Wilton, I had to see this anime take on the children's novels by Mary Norton.

And boy was I disappointed!

I'm surprised that I'm even admitting this. This is a movie I genuinely believed would be above average for me. Perhaps is has to do with the ratings it has received, and I think anime generally gets praise. It's a thing. But more importantly, (and do take note of this before criticizing me for criticizing this) since I did grow up with that other lovely series, I've been spoiled, and nothing can outdo it. My standards were raised a long time ago.

So allow me to rundown the reasons why I am so disappointed with this adaptation:

(1) The Japanese stamp is certainly visible. While I wouldn't normally view that as a flaw, "The Borrowers" is a purely British tale. The characters, the setting, everything. The s…

Movie Review: Rosemary's Baby

It took me a long time to get to this, but I finally watched it. This isn't the first movie I've seen featuring satanists and creepy conspiring old people. I gotta say, I liked it, although this isn't one that I'll watch often, or maybe ever again. It also ran a little long at over two hours.

The painful part about watching this was how obvious the characters are in their intentions. In fact it could be downright infuriating. As a viewer, I know that the neighbors are rather evil and that they put a great deal of time and effort into controlling Rosemary. It's also a glaring fact that there is a big plot that has yet to be revealed, but according to the movie description I was supposed to "wonder" if it was real or just in Rosemary's imagination. Hmm.

I also know that I could just murder her husband, who is obviously a part of the plot (what a great guy!). And Rosemary comes off as both naive and aware, letting them tell her what to do, which doctor …

Inspector Lewis: Wild Justice

You know, I was excited last night. Why? Because, after weeks of no Inspector Lewis, they were finally airing two new episodes back to back! Yay! PBS has been a bit backed up, what with all of their pledge programming and favorites. There are four new episodes in total, and two, I believe, were supposed to air in September. Only one did. Naturally, I was looking forward to the 9-midnight Lewis-athon.

And you know what ticked me off? They didn't play two new episodes back to back. They repeated the first one and then played a new one. So I had to wait until 10:30 to get my fix. Because of course everyone wants to re-watch the first one, right? Wrong! Mamma not happy!

But we did get one new episode, so I'll be content with that. They should be playing the other two next week, since a new series is supposed to start soon.

This one is called "Wild Justice". Lewis and Hathaway are investigating the death of a female Bishop. She flew across the pond from the USA for a ga…