Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Westing Game

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (1978)

Newbery Medal 1979

It must have been a down year for children's literature, 'cause if this was the top book I would hate to read anything else... too many characters, some very similar, some nonsensical, some stereotyped; abrupt changes in setting and dialogue, so the reader doesn't know who is it what room talking to whoever (whom and whomever?); and no character(s) to really invest in and care about, they were either cardboard fill-ins or spoiled and rude.

This book did spark a little curiosity, a couple of questions after "I still have how many pages til the end?" -- what else was published that year? when was the game Clue invented?

5 minutes later update: Apparently, some people really liked this book enough to create a website, or some people were so baffled by this book they had to create a website to sort it all out...

Johnny and the Dead by Terry Pratchett

As a huge fan of Pratchett's Discworld books, I wanted to introduce him to the Boys; he has several YA titles, including The Wee Free Men and some about magic rats. This one is good, funny and clever, and part of a series (The Johnny Maxwell Trilogy), so don't expect everything ironed out in the end. It's also a caution to authors that use current event/pop culture references in their work: Michael Jackson?!?!?


alisonwonderland said...

i remember liking The Westing Game as a teen - i guess i ought to read it again and see what i think as an adult.

JK said...

Now that I've read it & disliked it, I see it at every bookstore and library I go to...

jp-devilsadvocate said...

I think it is worth remembering that it was written in 1978 - and is notable for its presentation of strong female characters, an African American judge, sensitive portrayal of people with both physical and mental handicaps. It shows much about us as a people that these ideas don't even seem interesting now.

Reading this as a young girl i was very grateful for the characters of Turtle, and her sister who did the unthinkable in a story - did not want to be married.

JK said...

jp -- wow, had to go way back to find this one!
I certainly have heard from many more people that liked it, even loved it, than didn't... I might need to take another look at it.
Thanks for the comment!