Books My Mother Gave Me: The Land of Green Ginger (Noel Langley) Book Review

Published September 2, 2013 by ElisaChristy

The only things I particularly remembered from this book were the chapter titles. They are named “Chapter the First, Second…etc.” and come with a brief description of what happened in each chapter.

The story seems to be a sort of sequel to Aladdin, as it follows his son Abu Ali who has to find the Land of Green Ginger – a magical kitchen garden which floats around the world – and help the magician who created it, as a spell went wrong and he got turned into a button nosed tortoise. That’s a quest if ever I heard one.

“You must be very proud of having a son who canĀ only say boomalakka wee.”

The story knows it is nonsense and doesn’t try to explain itself away. In fact various characters sometimes point out the plot holes, before being told not to worry about such trivial things when there’s bigger things going on.

The two villains are princes who want to marry the same girl as Abu Ali. They are hapless and spend most of their time arguing with each other, but are definitely entertaining.

“‘Never put all your eggs in one basket,’ advised Ping Foo profoundly. ‘Meaning what?’ asked Rubdub sharply. ‘One thing at a time,’ counselled Ping Foo…’Then why drag in eggs?’ ‘I never knew a man so touchy about eggs!'”

Abu Ali has been given the magic lamp, but can only use one wish. When he does so the genie does not appear, instead his son does and he gets stuck on earth because he is not yet very good at spells.

To win the heart of his princess – the princess Silver Bud – Abu Ali must find three phoenix feathers which are supposedly extinct, everywhere but the Land of Green Ginger, which finds them rather than them finding it.

“A sentence without syntax is like an egg without salt.”

The book ends happily with Abu Ali marrying the princess Silver Bud and everyone getting back to where or what they are supposed to be.

As all I remembered was the chapter titles, I was surprised by how much there is in the book. It may be nonsense, but it’s nonsense with a plot. The book is more entertaining than I thought it would be, which is probably the reason I was read it in the first place.

As it is a sort of sequel to Aladdin, a working knowledge of that book may come in useful as characters from it are mentioned and as I only know the disney version of Aladdin then I wasn’t entirely sure who the people being mentioned were, but knowing the story isn’t vital as none of the original story’s characters have much to do with the main plot.

The book is sort of like a literary pantomime and would probably do quite well if it were made into a real one.

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