The Mysterious Benedict Society – Trenton Lee Stewart
There’s an exception to every rule. Is there a rule to every exception?
Anyway, that has absolutely nothing to do with what I was going to say. To summarize this book: your average children’s book except better. There. Now you can skip the rest of this because you already know what I’m going to say.
The Mysterious Benedict Society was an average children’s book, but somehow better. It wasn’t just a good story – actually to be honest I’ve read better stories, this almost reminded me of ”The Demon Headmaster” (=ouch) – but this book had very eccentric characters, logic, puzzles, a moral (and not just a ”so remember to always brush your teeth, children”-moral), and even politics and ideology.
The bad part? For one, the Demon Headmaster-plot. Maybe it’s not bad in itself, but if you happen to have read one of those books, or worse several, it has got you sighing. Because there aren’t enough letters in the word rotten to describe those books. I beg you: don’t read! The other bad thing about the book is it’s written for children, so all the hints are kinda really obvious. For example, it tells all the ages of all the others, it even says how important it is for children to know each others’ ages, and than it leaves out age of the smallest child, who is half the size of the others (they are 11 and 12). Then at the very end of the book, there’s a birthday party for the smallest child, and she turns out to be three. And all the other kids are really shocked that she’s not as old as them. And the reader is banging their head on whatever surface happens to be closest and saying ”duh, duh, duh”.
So it isn’t my favorite book, but it’s been a long time since I’ve actually enjoyed reading a children’s book. I quit like five years ago, because the problems in this book – cheezy plot, obvious hints – are not only worse in most books, but children’s books tend to be frighteningly anti-intellectual. Kids can think, you know.
Okay, rant over. Overall I’d say: read.