Book Review: Witch Week by Diana Wynne Jones

witch week diana wynne jones Book Review: Witch Week by Diana Wynne Jones

All I can say is that I would have found it rather more interesting if when I was in high school my peers hadnt passed notes about their crushes and packed lunches, but rather notes that said things like someone in 2Y is a witch.

Of course, in my school, this probably wouldve just resulted in a bit of reprimanding or a snide remark about not being of the proper character to study law or medicine (the horror!). But at gloomy and oppressive Larwood House, this little note causes a good deal more of a kerfuffle. Witchcraft is a serious, burnable-at-stake offence, after all. It doesnt, therefore, take long for word to get out about this concise little accusation, and since popularity is negatively correlated with ones likelihood of being a witch, the attention promptly turns to the class outcasts.

What ensues is a terrific muddle of witchcraft gone wrong, brilliant epistolary asides, hilariously terrible inquisitions (imagine Monty Python-esque roleplays in which characters are asked to play the role of a witch in order to assess their true witchiness), and a sad and sorry subplot of utterly pathetic unrequited love that will have you feeling quite the socially suave individual in comparison.

Against a backdrop of disappearing school shoes, the current class knitting fad and terrible school lunches, Wynne Jones explores in-group and out-group belonging and how easily people clump together against a perceived outcast in order to preserve their own standing. (Theres a brilliant examination of this pecking order provided by one of the characters in a journal entry, where the idea of real and unreal boys and girls is posited, as well as the sheer danger of overstepping the boundaries allowed by ones social rank.)

But its not only the crowd mentality that gets explored in Witch Week, but also the impact of deficit thinking. Where one of the accused is strident in renouncing his possible witch-hood, another finds herself of the mindset that if people are going to accuse her of being a witch, well, why not indeed be a witch?

There is so much clever, witty stuff going on here, and beneath the humour and zaniness is a very intelligent examination of social structures and how they come to be impressed upon us. Up until the very last few chapters (and Im going to get spoilery here, but youre big kids, you can take it) I was having a tremendous time. But of course, this being part of the Chrestomanci series, Chrestomanci must makes his deux ex machina appearance. And what comes next is something Im rather torn over. Its brilliant, but its also disappointing in a way, in that it negates the very existence of everything weve just read.

Still, this quibble aside, Witch Week'is Diana Wynne Jones in top form, and I recommend picking up a copy if you havent already.

Support Read in a Single Sitting by purchasing Witch Week'from

Amazon | Book Depository UK | Book Depository USA | Booktopia | The Nile

Rating: ????? (excellent)

See our other Diana Wynne Jones reviews

Other books by Diana Wynne Jones:

howls moving castle Review: Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Joneshouse of many ways wynne jones Review: Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jonescastle in the air Review: Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones

charmed life wynne jones Review: Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones


Related Posts with Thumbnails