Review - Leaving the Bellweathers by Kristin Clark Venuti

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): The Eyes of Truth by Enigma.

My reviews are a bit different than most. My purpose is to try and uncover hidden gems lost from the regular radar. Because of this, I have set up some guidelines for myself.

I will focus on YA and Children's literature (with very rare exceptions).
I will not review any book that is one of the top 25,000 selling books (based on Amazon ranks).
I will try and aim for books 100,000 or larger.
I will not review books before 2005 (with very rare exceptions).

Leaving the Bellweathers by Kristin Clark Venuti
Published: September 22, 2009
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Pages: 256
Current Amazon Rank: #257,647
Author's Website:

The First Line:

The Journal of T. Benway

Why I Am Here and Should Not Be

July 7,
Glorious Liberation and Oath Abandonment Time (GLOAT) minus 8 weeks, 2 hours, and 27 minutes.

For many years now, I have served the family Bellweather in my loyal, dedicated, and hardworking fashion.

My Take: This is a fun book. This is a funny book. It is all about a very eccentric family (that is putting it mildly) and the poor butler who has served their family since they day he left butler academy because of an oath his ancestor made 200 years ago. Spider, the 14-year-old, loves animals, but only if they are exotic, deadly, and endangered. The triplets like to dig holes and cause general mayhem, and 13-year old Ninda is an *ahem* extreme advocate for human rights. Their father is a mad scientist (in every sense of the word) and their mother likes to paint. A lot.

Poor Benway. He never asked for any of this. But he is loyal and no matter what they've put him through (and it's a lot, trust me) he has stayed with them. But not so any longer. The oath is almost up and he dreams of a place on a warm beach in Far Far Away and a flower garden the triplets won't destroy. Then the kids get wind that their beloved butler might be wanting to leave them, and they decide to band together to show him just how much he is loved and needed.

This is a fun caper, and truly that - a caper. The characters are not particularly deep but they have their own eccentric personalities so that it is easy to understand them. This story is much more about their misadventures than anything, but you will come to find that you care for them, particularly the indomitable Benway (who ever thought you would be rooting for a butler as hero? It's awesome). Benway's diaries entries, in particular, were one of my favorite parts as we saw the world through his eyes and sympathized with him even more. Very lighthearted in nature, but that is exactly what it is meant to be. No deep thinking here, just a lot of easy going fun and adventures, and it succeeds in that quite well. You don't need steak for every meal.

The Final Word: Lighthearted, crazy and fun, this is definitely not a deep-thinker book, but it is a fast read, and enjoyable. A butler makes a great hero.

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Shannon O'Donnell said...

I truly love your under-the-radar reviews!! :-)

Unknown said...

Oh, this looks cool! Reminds me a bit of the Nanny McPhee books.

Heather Zundel said...

Shannon - aww... thanks! I truly appreciate that.

Beth - Hey, actually, now that you mention it... it kind of is... And the best part? There's going to be sequels!