Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Westing Game

by Ellen Raskin

I read this book for my f2f book group, for the Newbery Challenge and the Book Awards Challenge. Whew - three with one book!

It's a fun little mystery written for reading levels 4-12. I was a bit confused for the first half of the book. Maybe I was trying to make more out of it than I should have, or tried to keep track of all the bits and pieces of clues. Once I stopped doing that and just let the book unfold, I enjoyed it more.

"The game is "Who Killed Sam Westing" and the winner receives his estate, worth millions. Sixteen people, all residents of Sunset Towers --- an apartment building on Lake Michigan --- are named as heirs to the fortune. They are split into eight unusual pairs and given clues to solving the murder. Through snowstorms, power failures and bombs they play the game, leading to deception and intrigue. Everyone is a suspect, no one is ever who he or she seems to be, and no one except the reader has all the answers (and sometimes not even then). Don't forget Sam Westing's most important instruction to the heirs: "It's not what you have, but what you don't have, that counts."

After twenty-five years, THE WESTING GAME --- written by the late beloved author Ellen Raskin and winner of the 1978 Newbery Award --- is still remarkable for its diverse, interesting characters, its plot twists, and an ending that no one inside or outside the novel could predict. Woven into the mystery are insights into family relations, dishonesty, courage and finding a sense of self. The absurdities of plot lend a humorous air but never distract from the story. There is something new to be found with every reading, from clues to connections between characters." from a review by Carlie Webber at

I liked this book and found it to be very clever. It's satisfying to be familiar with books that receive awards and also, those that are discussed often.


Melissa said...

I read that book when I was a kid - several times in fact (I think I owned it). I don't remember much about it but I remember liking it.

Eva said...

This sounds interesting. It rather reminds me of one of my favourite board games when I was little-Thirteen Dead End Drive. Have you heard of it? It was pretty awesome. :)

jenclair said...

I enjoyed this book so much when my kids were little. I need to reread it.

Cardine said...

This is one of my favorite books!

...and Eva, I've played Thirteen-Thirteen Dead End Drive!