Thursday, April 5, 2012

De and Doug's Den: The Westing Game

Den (noun):  hideaway, burrow, sanctum, study

You all should know by now that I am an avid reader -- I love books!  My husband is also a reader, and he often reads more "intellectual" books than I do.  (He read Rob Roy while I read Hunger Games earlier this year.)  Regardless, we both love to read and, between the two of us, have a pretty large collection of books for only being 25 years old.  A lot of people have asked about books we have read, our favorite books, and what many of the books we read are about.  I thought sharing here might be a great way to let people know the answers to some of these questions (plus give Doug something fun to guest post about!).

Today, I am starting with a Newberry Medal recipient, The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin.
This is what my book looked like originally ;)
Not only is it my favorite book, I have read this book about 300 times.  No, I am not exaggerating; I read it for the first time in sixth grade, and I just could not put it down.  I read it over 100 times in that school year (I kept a tally on the bookmark.)  My Copy is missing the front cover and several pages have come loose, but it is still my go-to book whenever I need a mini-vacation.  My copy is just shy of 300 pages; I can normally finish it in 2-3 hours.

It was originally published in 1978, but I have never noticed any '70s related terminology that would date the story; on the contrary, the plot could easily be accepted as a 21st century story (minus the technology that envelops today's world).  While it is a mystery, one cannot help getting caught up in the lives and exploits of the many diverse characters.

While all sixteen characters are necessary for the plot, the two that stand out are Sam Westing (an eccentric millionaire who has died, leaving behind a will, sixteen would-be heirs, and a tricky game where the winner-takes-all), and Tabitha-Ruth "Turtle" Wexler (a thirteen-year-old with a knack for stocks and a hot temper).  The reader is given all the "clues" to the game, but there are so many tricks, twists, and changes to be caught up in.  There are many allusions to chess (sixteen players, Sam Westing used to play chess), and it is hard not to begin to see the characters in light of this.  In the end, all the heirs are better for being in the game, in their jobs, relationships, and life choices.

If you haven't read The Westing Game, pick it up!  I would recommend it for ages 8 and up ;)

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