Saturday, May 21, 2005

The Outcasts

of 19 Schuyler Place has too many hard-to-pronounce words in it. If I knew how to make a poll on the correct pronunciation of "Schuyler", I would. (Though Sarah has informed me that it's "sky-ler", so it would now be a waste of time.) My point is that there were enough of those words to become annoying. Every time I came across something Hungarian or otherwise odd or eccentric, I tripped. And maybe that's why it took me two weeks to read this book. (Or maybe it's because I've been going out a lot more recently.)

My other qualm is that I'm really not a fan of activism. Yes, it's nice to teach kids to do something useful with their time (activism is definitely preferable to egging my car), but in the real world, adults almost never pay attention to kids. For real. Kid says, "We have to do something about the rain forest or we're going to run out of oxygen." Adult says, "Sure kid, we'll do something about that," and pats kid on the head. Kids don't get taken seriously, and their opinions matter for squat.

I must be pessimistic today.

I think I would have enjoyed the book more if it all took place at the camp. I loved the camp scenes. I loved the way Margaret dealt with the other campers, with her counselor, and with the head of the camp. It was awesome. I would have loved to read more of that.

That's not to say I didn't enjoy the book. I did. There is no doubt that Konigsburg is an excellent writer. Her words are golden, and her characters are likeable without being perfect. I liked the way she'd pick phrases from earlier passages, bold them, and then go into depth about them. I especially liked this when she took the first page (female astronaut, el nino, etc) and used those in the epilogue. It was a nice way to wrap a ribbon around the story.

There's just not much else for me to say. It was good, but not perfect. Oh, and I had trouble picturing the towers. I think her lack of description was on purpose, because it's a work of art, and therefore the majesty cannot be captured with mere words (alright, I'm making fun, so sue me). But my scientific mind cannot appreciate an abstract object, nor can it simply create an image, as I have no imagination.

And forgive me for picking at nits: I think the cover IS supposed to be the shadow of the towers on Margaret's unfinished rose ceiling. (It's either the towers or the window making a shadow.) However, this is impossible, if you consider the fact that the sun is almost always over the house when it's above the horizon (and when it's not, it's likely to be obstructed by trees or other landscape, as Margaret said only the tops of the towers were visible from the street).

Here's a question for any hedgehogs who might read this:
Why did Konigsburg choose to use the rose for the cover and not the towers?

3 comments:

  1. You know, Erica, I couldn't picture the towers, either; my mind is not organized visually; I'm utterly auditory.

    They were colorful and arty-funky and that's all I know!

    I don't think I'd like them on the cover - or maybe just a peek of them rising behind the house?

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  3. Hey Erica you said it The Outcasts now that rings true. I swear by my homes ceiling fans, talk about sweet cool fresh air beats air conditioning any day!
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    ReplyDelete