The Willoughbys Return | Hamro Patro

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A Book Review on: The Willoughbys Return

   Jyotsana Tako - Jun 07 2024

This book “The Willoughbys Return” is a sequel from its predecessor, “The Willoughbys”. This novel in particular deals with the two couples who were frozen in the minor Alp in Switzerland in the previous book. The story then continues as soon as they defrost after 30 years. As expected, the thirty years of hiatus had made them strangers in the new generation. So, they had a hard time fitting in. The whole novel revolves around this couple and their hardships in coping with the new environment, along with the hardships of their family members whose lives have taken a turn since this couple’s hiatus.

Plot Summary
The story takes place in a mountain located in Switzerland where two couples had defrosted. As soon as they defrosted, all they did was yell at each other and act very grumpy. By that, we can learn how their personality was built. They started searching for their money and the husband calls his wife, Mrs. Willoughby, a cockroach. After that, Mr. and Mrs. Willoughby went to a restaurant to satisfy their hunger, where they found out that the waiter could not pronounce the letter W; he used to replace the word ‘w’ with ‘v’. They got irritated by that and scolded the waiter for not being able to pronounce the word with a “w” in it.There was a family whose livelihood depended on patients coming for dental check ups, but we found out that candy was banned in their town.

Later in the story, we get introduced to some new characters who were the Poore’s family. Yes, by the word Poores, indeed they were also poor. Their dad was out of the country selling outdated encyclopaedias to get earnings for his family. The Poores family had two children; a boy called Winston and a girl called Winifred. Winifred always told her mother that she represented that one character from the book ‘Little Women’ that she had borrowed from the library. Winston liked cars, and Winifred liked to study about rocks. Her father, on the other hand, was trying to gift her some rocks by packaging them to the country where his family was. Right in front of Poore's tiny house was a huge mansion owned by Richie’s family.

Richie had lots of toys and books and a whole library because he was allowed to order anything he wanted from the Internet, though not anymore. After all, they were short on money since his father was a dentist and candies were banned so there were not many patients for the dentist. The Poores family had a hard time; they didn't have much for breakfast or dinner and had to reuse most of their materials and food items.

On the other hand, Mr. and Mrs. Willoughbys were trying to find their family. Mrs. Willoughby was really happy because her beauty remained the same as she thought of her other friends who were in their 70s. She laughed as she thought about how ugly they must have looked right now. Mr. Willoughby was feeling down though because he missed his old family. His old family had twins: a daughter and a boy. Mr. Willoughby recalled a memory where his children gifted him a Father's Day card made by themselves. Though Mr. Willoughby didn't care at the time and just called it a waste of paper, he remembered his daughter Jane crying after hearing that. Mr. Willoughby regretted saying those, then told his wife about it. His wife replied with a sigh, “Jane was such a crybaby she whined all the time.” Mr. Willoughby said that he liked Jane, and she was a sweet girl.

After that, Mr. Willoughby stopped by a shop to see if there were any Father's Day cards, which there were. Then, he learned that candies were banned. Mr. and Mrs. Willoughby went to search for their home but someone else was living in their home, so they asked them about the new house's location.
The Poore’s family's children wanted to help their mother out, so they tried to make their tiny home a hotel and made a sign in a piece of paper about their hotel and pasted it out their home. Mr. and Mrs. Willoughbys found their house and came in thinking it was a hotel, they paid Mrs. Poores for each and every stuff they used. After that, Mrs. Poores tried to make some fancy dish out of the food which was available at her house, but unfortunately, they poisoned them not knowing that the ingredients were not edible. They were taken to the hospital, and thankfully they were alright. Richie made friends with Winifred and Winston, and his father paid them to give company to Richie.

Later in the story, Richie, Winifred, and Winston thought of a toothpaste idea which was candy-flavored. Then, Ben Poore found gold, mistaking it as a rock. Then at the end, the story ends with Mr. and Mrs. Willoughbys apologizing to their children for their bad behavior.

Critical Analysis
The Poore’s family are very kind while the Willoughbys are very selfish and greedy. Richie on the other hand, is just a lonely child who doesn't get much attention from his parents. Richie's parents have a lot of wealth, but they aren't cold-hearted beings like the Willoughbys. The Poore's children are very thoughtful as they decide to help their mother and father out which proves they can be independent too. The novel portrays the Poores family as a considerate and a loving family, however, they had initiated the banning of candy all around the world. Even though it seems to be a noble cause and a lesson learnt from the past incidents (The Poores had food poisoning from excess candy), it also seems harsh for the Willoughbys who were dependent on their dental business.

The story is set in the Alps of Switzerland where Mr. and Mrs. Willoughbys had frozen in the prequel to this book. Two families of different social status live in their own ways; one in a normal house, the other in a castle. There is a house owned by Poores family which they turn into a hotel. A restaurant is also in the novel which is a necessary prerequisite to depict the present condition of the Willoughbys.

As for the recommendation part, yes, I do recommend this book for middle schoolers because it is very easy to read. This book is also fun to read. This book explains family problems, and how we too should be independent. Along with depicting the difficulties for the older generation to cope with the new ones, it teaches us the importance of unity while living in a shared community. The lesson to make us learn about the importance of family, parenthood, and coping with changes makes it more important for me to recommend the book to all the book lovers and the beginners as well.

Name: Jyotsana Tako
Grade: VIII ‘Melungtse’
Deerwalk Sifal School

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