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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
“Look up! Penelope Pym! For the love of God, look up!” Those profound words were all that was needed to grab Penelope’s attention from her reading. She was sitting on a park bench in Central Park, as she did every Saturday morning, oblivious to the fact that the love of her life was standing nearby. Usually, he worked all day on a Saturday, but not this April Fool’s Saturday. And for a very good reason. It’s all explained in Brian D. Campbell’s The Powerful Penelope Pym. Or, should it be Pen Pym, the pet name that was an alliteration of love? This is Penelope’s love story told through her journal entries, a memoir of sorts that follows a romantic young girl, passionate about life while, at times, also angry at life, as she comes of age and matures into a remarkable young woman – a woman in love.
Brian D. Campbell’s novel, The Powerful Penelope Pym, is both a love story and a memoir. Taking selections from a young girl’s diary, the plot evolves from Penelope’s very young years when she first fixated her passion on the boy (quite literally) next door: Evan. The diary is full of honest feelings, sometimes sentimental and, at other times, rather humorous. As she explains in her opening remarks, the diary entries have been chosen and compiled to create a special, unique wedding gift for her betrothed. However, reading it over before giving it to him on their special day, she starts to wonder what he’ll think of her private thoughts and worries it might scare him away from the altar at the last minute. Whilst this is a romance, it reads like a memoir, a very special memoir about a rather special young lady.