Sunday, April 28, 2013

REVIEW: The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

You know those mystery books where you can tell whodunnit before the end of the fifth chapter? Ellen Raskin's The Westing Game is not one of those books.

When I was in sixth grade, I wanted to be Turtle Wexler.* Although Turtle was an afterthought to her parents, she was cool. She played the stock market, snuck into haunted houses, and got away with kicking people. As the oldest of three, sometimes I wanted to kick people. Turtle also slept in a closet years before it was all the rage.

I recommend reading The Westing Game with your child; you'll have fun comparing theories and sharing suspicions. As in any good mystery, everyone has a secret and nobody is entirely who they claim. However, it can be a difficult book to read aloud. Raskin lets you peek into many different minds, and sometimes the point-of-view shifts are sudden. When I read it to my daughters last year, I often had to redo the internal dialogue once I realized it had shifted. That's what I get for trying to give each character a unique voice without reading ahead first.
Safe to look. No spoilers.  :)

It's the disjointed nature of the story, though, that makes it such an exciting read. You know you're not getting the whole story...and also that you are. In spite of the head-jumping, this is Turtle's story and I promise, all the clues are there. But I'm betting you won't figure it out.

*I also wanted to be Harriet M. Welsch, Meg Murry, Mary Lennox, and Lucy Pevensie, but that's another issue.


  1. I loved this book when I read it years ago. This would be a good read for this summer with my kids. Thanks.

    1. Definitely an excellent summertime read. Glad I brought it back to mind.