Title: Dodger’s Doorway
Author: Alessandro Reale
One night, timid teenager Mark “Dodger” Bishop stumbles through a magical doorway that transports him to Storyworld, a strange realm inhabited by characters from fairy tales, myths, and legends. Dodger must team up with the warrior Humpty Dumpty and the alchemist Rumpelstiltskin to complete a series of adventures. Along the way, they encounter a cannibalistic witch, a mad puppeteer, ferocious bounty hunters, and much more.
Dodger’s Doorway is a beautiful young adult tale that twists the different fairytales that we all know about together in a new way. I loved how Alessandro Reale made the fairytale characters and stories his own, but overall I found that the protagonist in this novel was unlikable.
“Dodger”, aka Mark Bishop, is a teenager who finds his way through a magic door that leads into a fairytale land where all of the fairytale characters live. The characters he comes across, such as Humpty Dumpty and Rumpelstiltskin, help him to fight his fears and self-consciousness, but I didn’t connect to Dodger due to his poor attitude. He seemed to be a stereotypical teenage figure with little regard for his family or society, and I didn’t see him evolve through the novel like I wish he would have. Dodger did not represent today’s teenage population well, and my inability to connect to him dampened my enjoyment of this novel. I do think that Reale did a great job of recreating the fairytale world for us, but his fictional view on today’s teenagers came off as a bit outdated and stereotypical. Instead of having Dodger come off as an outcast like the back cover blurb stated, he came off as a brat and I didn’t root for him throughout the novel.
However, I enjoyed Reale’s clever way of connecting fantasy with reality, and his writing on the fairytale world was effortless and beautiful. If Dodger had been taken out of this story, I would have enjoyed it more. I would like to read more about Humpty Dumpty and Rumpelstiltskin, and I admired how Reale portrayed them as real people instead of just fictional characters.
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