October 25, 2007
THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY
I'm not in the habit of doing reviews per se, and this is not even Halloween related, but here's a quick Fall reading suggestion— The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. Now, I'm violating the cardinal rule of book recommendation because I haven't even finished it yet. (Little things like a Halloween Countdowns have hindered such a feat.) But I'm going ahead and blabbing about it now because now is the perfect time of year to pick this book up since the story occurs just as the leaves are beginning to change and the nights are turning chilly. Besides, only a drastic turn for the worse could cause me to stop endorsing it.
Spoiler-Free Synopsis: After Reynie Muldoon responds to an advertisement recruiting "gifted children looking for special opportunities," he finds himself in a world of mystery and adventure.
The combination of the style of the illustrations and the fact that the main characters are geniuses causes the story to play like a Wes Anderson film in my mind. The world that it takes place in and the way the writing unfolds really tickles my intrigue bone. I'm also appreciating the subtle nature of the characters ( They're definitely not a rag-tag troop of Disney Channel kids) and there's a strong puzzle-solving element that I really enjoy. But really, the magnificent cover does a better job of enticing than any book report I could ever write. Just look at it. Then look at it closer here. By now you're either in or you're out.
If you do like me you'll check it out at the library twice before deciding to just buy it on amazon.
(Turns out the cover was designed by Carson Ellis who's best known for her work on the Decemberists albums.)