The Dreadful Future of Blossom Culp, by Richard Peck, for Timeslip Tuesday

I did not know, until The Dreadful Future of Blossom Culp, by Richard Peck (1983), surfaced in a box of library booksale donations last week, that Richard Peck was a writer of time-travel books.  I also did not know that this was the third in a series until today....but it stood on its own just fine, and was enjoyable enough that I shall add the other three books to my reading list.  (The cover image shown here is that on the copy I found, and goes to show that the early eighties were a strange, unkind era as far as appealing book covers go).

Blossom is a not an ordinary 1914 girl from a small town in middle America. Her mother is an eccentric physic with a quick temper, no money, and no husband around, and Blossom shares all those characteristics.  Since she's only 14 and has just started high school, the last is only to be expected.  High school and Blossom don't mix real well; there's a mean snooty group of girls who try to make life hard for her, and so she has no friends until she meets a girl even more raggedly dressed who has spent her time at high school in a bathroom stall where it is safer and more peaceful. 

The story really gets going when the freshman class decides to host a haunted house, using an actual abandoned spooky farmhouse.  Blossom is coerced into being the fortuneteller.  When exploring the house in advance, she opens a door....and travels to the 1980s.  And interesting visit with a lonely boy ensues, and Blossom is much interested and occasionally disturbed and confused, but the plot of the story is not advanced at all by this interlude, which is without any real tension (though it is of nostalgic interest to those of us who were young in the 1980s, which of course wouldn't  have added value for readers when it was first published....)  When Blossom gets back to her own time, things get much more amusing as she does her psychic act for all its worth.

So the time travel is kind of pointless, except to show that Blossom really truly isn't ordinary.  But the book as a whole is fun, and Blossom is a diverting heroine who is a force of nature to be reckoned with (at times too much so for my taste).  Reading reviews on Goodreads, this seems to be the least popular of the four books about her, so I shall give the others a try in due course.


  1. Holy smoke that's an awful cover! I had no idea Peck had written anything like this either. It's sounds kind of fun, though, so I might check it out. Thanks for the review.

  2. I love going back in time. We have a Blossom Culp book in our library. I think I will check it out now.

  3. The 80s did have some dreadful covers. When I started at my school library, I think the 2nd and 4th books were the only ones in the collection, so I weeded instead of trying to replace the others. It would be nice to be a middle grade archive, but I don't have the room!

  4. AHHHHHHH you have only just discovered Blossom Culp?! Oh yay for you! She was my imaginary friend in middle school and I think is only second to Anne Shirley on my list of favorite girl-crush characters of all time. "Ghosts I Have Been" is the best of the books in my opinion. I have often wondered how I would comport myself in a room with Richard Peck-- probably very poorly-- I would have to geek out about Blossom at him so very badly.

    1. I did enjoy meeting Blossom, and I will make sure I read Ghosts I have Been sooner rather than later!

  5. I really liked Ghosts I Have Been as a child! Haven't read it for many years, so I don't know how it would hold up...but I'm glad this one was good enough you want to read more. I never read any of the other Blossom Culp books for some reason.


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