Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Another Series of Improbable Events

The second book I started reading on my trip (and had to finish after I got home) was The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place by E. L. Konigsburg. Konigsburg has won the Newbery Medal twice, for From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler , which I remember liking when I read it years ago, and The View From Saturday. I liked that book, too, though I found it very adult oriented.

But what about 19 Schuyler Place? you may ask. Well. Well. Well, The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place starts out with one of those wise- beyond-their-years narrators. Adults (myself included)love wise-beyond-their-years narrators, mainly, I think, because we meet so few wise-beyond-their-years kids in real life. So I liked Margaret Rose. But then the mean girls at camp entered the story. And the eccentric uncles. And the big bad lawyers who were going to destroy the uncles' backyard. It just seemed as if I'd read it all before. Then Margaret Rose does all these improbable things to save the day. And more unlikely things happen, too. I just didn't buy it.

There was also lots of talk about art and literature. I have nothing against art and literature talk in kids' books. Really. I'm all for it, in fact. Can't have too much of it. It just seemed so educational here. Not that I'm against education, either. But in a work of fiction, the educational stuff isn't supposed to sound educational.

I liked Margaret Rose, and I would have liked to have read a story about her having a crush on the camp handyman. That was a situation that seemed filled with possibilities but it wasn't pursued all that much.

This is a companion book to Silent to the Bone, which I haven't read. But I will.


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