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A Reading Vocation

"I Must Read, Read, and Read. It is my Vocation." - Thomas Merton

This is where I chronicle my reading life.  I also blog about writing at Lacey's Late-night Editing.


Book 89/100: From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler - E.L. Konigsburg

I didn't read this when I was a kid like all my friends seem to have done, but I don't think I necessarily would have liked it any better then than I did now. It was all a little too "cutesy" for my taste, and while the motives were fairly believable for children, it's still hard for the main character not to come across as a little precious and short-sighted.

With that said, I liked what the story was trying to say about Claudia's yearning to have her adventure "change" her, to return home different somehow. There's this poignant moment where she's watching a woman in a sari at the UN and it occurs to her that is one way to be different; ultimately, this seems to be a story about her search for identity as she stands on the threshold between childhood and adolescence, and that resonated with me.

I also like the narrative choice, of having this be "first-person" despite the fact that the narrator was somewhat removed. I've mentioned in other reviews that I like books that are somewhat "self-aware" of the fact that they are being written, and the narrative choice here allowed me to be okay with things that would usually annoy me, like "head-hopping."

I wanted this book to start a little earlier, with more information about the impetus for Claudia's running away, and I wanted it to go on just a little longer, so we could see the family's reaction to her return. But I guess I shouldn't complain too much about how short it was, since it wasn't really my cup of tea, anyway.