Book Rec: The First Book of Calamity Leek by Paula Lichtarowicz

And the first book rec of the year is The First Book of Calamity Leek by Patricia Lichtarowicz! I picked this book up on a whim in one of the sale sections during a trip to Barnes and Noble. I figured it’d be a quick, easy read in between some heavier books I have on my TBR. When I started reading though, I was pulled right into this odd world I couldn’t make sense of, and the book quickly became a favorite.

The Story

This read follows a young girl named Calamity Leek. She lives with her sisters on a farm under the watch of her Aunt. The story picks up right after one sister gets a little too curious and decides to look over the wall that keeps all the girls on the land. I don’t want to say much more beyond that, because a large part of this book is the process of figuring out what’s going on.

Why I Recommend it

Something that may be a bit divisive about this book is it’s not particularly easy to read. It’s not that the vocabulary tries too hard to sounds smart, but rather the way Calamity speaks is very unique and you have to puzzle together what she really means. All the girls have this strange fairy tale way of viewing the world and I spent much of the book confused on what they really meant in ‘normal speak.’

If you can muscle through the confusion though, the book is a very interesting look at how children deal with difficult situations and curiosity and more specifically how women relate to younger women.

Though difficult at times, I love how much the bok confused me. I enjoyed working to figure out what Calamity and the author were trying to tell me. It’s as fun as it is frustrating piecing together the puzzle. It’s satisfying and frequently turns to horrifying, but for much of the time you’re not quite sure why.

It’s a bit of a dak start to the New Year but a great read nonetheless.


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