I had to re-read this for an upcoming class. At first I thought it was much better than I'd remembered, but I ended up lowering my review by a star after finishing it again.
In my last review (All the King's Men) I wrote about writing teachers who teach that adjectives and adverbs are the death of good writing and how I disagreed with that. After reading this book, I can see how some might consider the overuse of adjectives and adverbs to be annoying. So much in this book is done palely and greenly and whitely and egads. Worse to me is making nouns into verbs (or maybe it's just usage I'm not familiar with), the worst being presents that were getting all hollied up. It's called wrapping. I mean, HOLLIED? Give me a break. I began to find the writing a distraction in a negative way, like it was calling attention to itself as Writing.
It's also a very weird book, a very dark fairy tale, and I have to admit that I was really bothered by all the animals in captivity, the lack of concern by the characters for the animals, and the stupid use by Carter of the pronouns "it" and "he" when referring to the dog. Mostly he was an it, but sometimes he was a he, and if he was at some point a he, he should have always been a he.
This book did help me clear another book off my shelf though, a collection of essays by Carter. Life is short; why read more than one book by the same author if the first one you read is so obnoxious?