Retro Friday Reviews are hosted by Angieville. Basically you review an older book on Fridays.
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart is an AWESOME middle grade book featuring clever orphans. Y’all I love orphans, they are one of my favorite literary trope. While I am sure being an orphan in real life sucks, being an orphan in books basically means you get to have awesome adventures, live on an island with a bunch of kooky characters, or beg for more gruel.
I should put this out there right now, The Mysterious Benedict Society is a fairly long book, it’s about 492 pages. If you aren’t patient for things that start a bit boring, then maybe this won’t be the right book for you. Me on the other hand, I am down for boring — I love long winded passages like in Lord Of The Rings and The Once And Future King. So, Mysterious Benedict Society will appeal to that sort of reader, not to the sort who has to have lots and lots of action.
Okay, so there’s this ad in the paper saying come take a test and get fantastic opportunities. So lots of orphan children show up to take the test. However, only four children are chosen for the opportunities: Reynie Muldoon, Sticky Washington, Kate Wetherall and Constance Contraire. These four kids must unravel the plans of evil genius Mr. Curtain, who is running an elite school on Nomansanisland and brainwashing people.
What I loved about this book is that each character brings something different to the table. This book celebrates differences in thinking. Each child has unique talents and Trenton Lee Stewart shows that there is more than one way to skin a cat, as we see how each approach works. We’ve got Reynie who is very clever and can figure out the ‘trick’ to a problem, Sticky who is a braniac, Kate who is very resourceful with a bucket, and Constance who is completely unconventional.
Further, it was lovely to see the foursome develop their friendship. I liked seeing how they all came to trust each other. It’s a nice lesson to learn, to appreciate each other for who we are, in weakness and strength.
Okay and this is out of pure indulgence, but I fricken love cranky characters SO much in theory. I imagine someday I will be the ‘you kids get off my lawn’ person. SO when a cranky character shows up, I practically clap my hands with glee. Constance is a pint size old lady and I love that. She’s hands down my favorite character.
If you like a good mystery, clever children, and long winded passages, definitely check out The Mysterious Benedict Society.
Disclosure: Purchased copy.
I read Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart as part of my Fill In The Gaps Challenge.