Friday, April 6, 2012

The Westing Game: Review

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin is actually a re-read for me. But I didn't read it when I was young--although I wish I had. I know I would have enjoyed it. Our public library hosts a children's reading challenge every summer and during one of the campaigns my son, Kyle, won The Westing Game as his reading challenge prize. It was a little advanced for him at the time (he's not his mother's child when it came to reading)--but he loved the cover and wanted it and we decided that it was a book we could read together. So we did. And I thought at the time, "What a great book! Why didn't I find it when I was growing up?"

This year, I joined the Back to the Classics Challenge and one of the categories is to read an award-winning classic. So, I decided to go back to this Newbery Medal winner, refresh myself on the details, and write up a proper review for my blog. Here goes--

Sixteen people are chosen (apparently at random) to be allowed to rent apartments in the luxurious Sunset Towers apartment building. The assorted tenants come from all walks of life--a secretary and a judge, a doctor and an inventor, a dressmaker and two restaurant owners. And a bookie, a burglar, and a bomber....and one mistake. After living in the apartments for a while, they receive a notice that they are also all heirs of Samuel W. Westing--a man whose fortunes have been built on the Westing Paper Products Industry. But--in order to claim their inheritance, they will have to play Westing's game....a contest to find and name Westing's murderer! The heirs are divided into pairs and each pair is given a set of clues. Each set of clues is different. But two people hold all the clues--one will be named the Westing heir and the other is the reader. Can you solve the mystery before the heir does?

This is a well-written children's mystery. Lots of twists and turns and surprises. Pretty fairly clued too. I enjoyed it very much and only wish I had discovered it when I was younger--I probably would have given it four stars then. Three stars now--a very nice mystery.


Julie @ Read Handed said...

I randomly bought a used copy of The Westing Game from a thrift store as a teenager and really grew to love the story. Thanks for giving it its dues!

Jennifer said...

I ADORE this book! I did find it when I was a child, and it was one of "those books" for me, you know? One that draws a child's mind completely in, fires the imagination for months, and subtly adds itself to what a professor of mine called "the furniture of the mind".

Susan@ Reading World said...

My kids read this in school and when I saw it I thought I should read it, but didn't get around to it. Thanks for bringing it back to my attention- I should go find it. I'm sure it's still in our house somewhere.

Sarah Reads Too Much said...

I've forgotten the camp counselor who gave me a copy of this when I was younger, but I never forgot the story! I can't wait for my son's to be old enough to appreciate it. Good choice for an Award Winner!

The Insouciant Sophisticate said...

This is my sister's favorite book-she reads it over and over again. I remember enjoying it when I gave it a read oh so many years ago. I think it is a great read for the target audience!