Joining the lovely Jessica for this week's installment of WWRW....
Reliable Dwija over at HouseUnseen recommended this book to me a while ago. Since I was vetting several books for Maeve (thanks to all the parents out there who think reading any book is good, because "well, they're READING, aren't they?"), I didn't have time to read The Westing Game until this past week.
It's a young adult mystery (well, lots of mysteries, actually!), which makes it more difficult to review without spoiling the ending, but I will try.
The Westing Game is the story of the tenants of Sunrise Towers who are all
seemingly unconnected to one another but as the story unfolds, you begin to learn that they all have one person in common: Samuel Westing.
Westing is an eccentric old business tycoon who disappeared years ago and is rumored to be dead. His mansion is situated across from Sunset Towers, and one Halloween, the tenants see smoke rising from the chimney. (Cue the spooky music...)
From here on out, Raskin (who won the Newberry for this book) does a superb job of introducing you to each character while weaving a complex storyline. The book is less than 200 pages, but I was forced to read slowly so I wouldn't miss a single detail or clue. In some books, this is confusing and problematic, but that is not the case in The Westing Game.
The tenants (from 13 year old Turtle Wexler to old Crow) are summoned by letter to the Westing Mansion as heirs, divided into pairs, with each pair receiving $10,000 and a set of 5 words as clues. They are told they have a short amount of time to solve the mystery of who took the life of Sam Westing.
From here on out, the reader is treated to the character development necessary to solve the mystery and to make one truly invested in the lives of these characters. Each character is a mystery within the larger mystery. It's fascinating.
I also enjoyed the overall theme of hope that came across as very pro-marriage and pro-life. A sense of this permeated the entire story and gained my trust -- which sounds weird, but it's true. The very ending let me down a little, though. And, without giving anything away, I will
tell you that my sense of established trust in the hopefulness of the storyline was violated by the decision of 2 of the main characters.
However, I still feel this was an extremely good book and totally appropriate for anyone high school age or older. (I would allow my 13 year old to read it, provided we discuss my feelings regarding the ending).