Sunday, November 6, 2011

Book Review: The Mysterious Benedict Society

Red received The Mysterious Benedict Society as a a birthday gift from my sister Christy earlier in the year.  Christy is the relative who gives books for every occasion (she's notorious for trolling used book stores) and usually makes good selections.  This time she picked another hit.

The book opens with protagonist Reynie Muldoon living at an orphanage.  Reynie is an extremely bright child who longs for more challenges in life.  When his teacher Miss Perumal comes across a curious newspaper advertisement soliciting gifted children looking for "special opportunities" to take a test, Reynie decides to check it out.  Only four brilliant children make the cut after the testing---Reynie, the obsessive compulsive Sticky Washington, the MacGyver-esque Kate Wetherall, and the annoyingly stubborn Constance Contraire.  They come together under the tutelage of the peculiar Mr. Benedict to form "The Mysterious Benedict Society" and begin a dangerous adventure to save the world.

The author's tone had a Roald Dahl feeling to me, which I enjoyed.  As a read aloud, this book was LONG.  It clocks in at 485 pages and the print is on the small side.  Because of the length, the book at times dragged.  Sometimes I felt that the writer could have tightened the plot up a bit and made it clip along a bit faster.  That's from an adult point of view though because Red LOVED it.  She couldn't wait for a new chapter each night.  We took a few nights off here and there to read other things so it actually took us nearly two months to read it.  In fact, she was so into the book that she wants to start the sequel, The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey.  I'm pushing for a break to read another Aunt Christy gift, Princess Academy.  It looks right up Red's alley, not to mention it won the Newbery Honor in 2006.

I'm hoping to get back in the swing of things with blogging and life in general this coming week.  Last week was kind of a mess with Halloween (had a great time, but it was a little piece of crazy), jury duty, and being sick.  Yes, jury duty actually made me sick.  After they picked my panel for a trial, the deputy escorted us to a spare court room where we sat for hours with no water.  There were no drinking fountains on the floor and the bathroom was extremely filthy.  I resorted to drinking from the bathroom tap at one point out of desperation.  By the time I got home, my headache was bad from the dehydration that I threw up.  So I can say with confidence, jury duty makes me sick.  In the end, the defendant plead guilty to a lesser charge so they didn't need us anyway.  Sigh...

And Christmas is officially on it's way whether I like it or not.  It drives me batty when the local radio stations start playing Christmas music the day after Halloween.  Grrrrr....  
On a good note, you all will get sneak peeks on all the projects I'm working on for gifts in the coming weeks.  


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