Lots of Little Doors

     In establishing my reading goals for this year, I included a category of “just for fun” books.  That heading gives me a lot of flexibility, including the opportunity to work some pieces of juvenile fiction into my own reading basket.  N. D. Wilson’s 100 Cupboards is the first piece of juvenile fiction I’ve read this year.  We’ve had the book on the shelf for quite awhile now.  I’d planned on reading it aloud to my boys, but we never got to it; so I read it on my own.

      100 Cupboards was, more or less, a fun read.  The story opens with the arrival of a new kid in town.  Henry arrives by bus to the town of Henry, Kansas, to stay with his Uncle’s family after the disappearance of his parents.  Henry is given an attic bedroom for his stay, and it’s there that the wall of ninety-nine doors is soon uncovered.  (I’ll not tell you the whereabouts of that 100th cupboard.) 

     Henry and one of his Henry, Kansas cousins, Henrietta (sigh), chip away all of the plaster from the attic wall that covers the doors.  They begin opening the little doors and wondering about what lies behind each.  Their discovery of beautiful and intriguing places behind the little doors, as well as in the mysterious locked room once occupied by their late grandfather, fill their days and nights with adventure and peril.  The peril, eventually, follows them back home to their own world, endangering the entire family and a good friend as well before the story ends. 

     This book would be enjoyed by any who enjoy fantasy fiction.  Be advised, though, that witches, ghosts and parallel worlds are part of the story line.  The book is somewhat suspenseful, but would not be frightening to a child old enough to read it independently.

     Though I enjoyed the story, for the most part, I was not crazy about Henry’s apathy toward the plight of his missing parents.  He admits openly, in the story, that he does not want to return home to them if they are found.  He felt more at home with his Uncle’s family, who allowed him more freedoms (drinking soda pop, riding in the back of a pick up truck, staying home alone while the adults go to town), and he enjoyed that freedom. 

     (spoiler alert)  It turns out that Henry’s missing parents are not his biological parents, but his adoptive parents.  Henry seems relieved when he learns this about them.  I don’t like the message about adoption that seems to send.   Henry doesn’t really care about where they are or what is happening to them.  He doesn’t want to go back home to them if they are found.  And once he finds out they aren’t his “real” parents, that seems to make those feelings all okay.  The adoptive parents are not found or rescued, and really do not figure much into the story beyond what I’ve already mentioned.  I wonder if they might become a bigger part of the story line in the second or third and final books in the series.

     I’ve offered this book to my boys to read, and I will order the rest of the series if either of them enjoy it enough to want to read more.  Though this was a fun read, I have to admit being a bit disappointed in it.

     100 Cupboards, by N. D. Wilson (* * * 1/2)  

God bless you as you look well to the ways of your household!
Proverbs 31:27


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2 comments to Lots of Little Doors

  • Please don’t give up on this series yet.  😉  I didn’t really enjoy the first book that well, but we did listen to the audio tape as a family.  I did, however, really enjoy the second book, and have the third await my free time right now.

    I suppose that is the case with many serial books.  Some are better than others. I’m guessing that it might have just taken this author a while to “build up speed”.


  • @Melanie in KS – Thanks, Melanie!  I’ll be more willing to purchase the second and third books knowing that they may be better.  It’s not that I didn’t like the book, just disappointed a bit as described in my review.