From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

basilIt’s been two months since I posted and while I have read books in that time, there has definitely been a lull. I found myself in a few weeks long reading rut, which was just terrible. So now it’s time to play catch-up and I’m going to not necessarily go in order, but start with the book that helped me get out of the rut. Nothing was capturing my attention. I checked books out and returned them. I was distracted and uninterested. But mopey because I wanted to be reading. I had taken my son to a doctor’s appointment and put my old copy of From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler in my purse because I thought that he might finally like to read it. Instead, I opened it up and started it myself. And, oh! Wasn’t it just what I needed? A tried and true story, one that I knew I’d love, but also had been so long since I read it that it was wonderful to get reacquainted with.  The funny thing is, as I read I kept recognizing things as particular parts/styles that I had loved as a kid.  For example, Claudia keeps getting mad at her brother Jamie’s ungrammatical sentences and saying “What kind of sentence is that?!” I wouldn’t have remembered that on my own, but as soon as I saw it in print remembered that I had loved that part very much. (I still found it funny.) The book was a lot shorter than I remembered. It seems that all the things I thought of as the “highlights of the book I still remember” actually are, simply, all the parts of the book.
There’s a reason this book won the Newbery Award and remains a classic. It’s so marvelously well-written. Konigsburg doesn’t shy away from great sentences, language, and vocabulary.  And Jamie and Claudia are neither perfect nor perfectly wicked. In fact, I can remember taking great pleasure then (and did this time too) whenever their less than attractive traits were described. And then, of course, there’s the whole premise. I have never visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art that I did not imagine Jamie and Claudia bathing in the fountain, or imagine what I myself would do if I were hiding in the museum.
For now my son still hasn’t read it, but I sure hope he does because, while things like the automat are a bit dated, it’s still a great story.

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2 thoughts on “From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

  1. As you know I love the automat. If I ever get sent back in time to mid-century Manhattan I’m so going to hit one up.

    Can you imagine the nationwide search today if two kids that age just disappeared like that?

    The other books I’ve read of hers are wonderful too – I love 19 Schuyler Place and The View from Saturday. I think I need to hunt her down and read some of the others.

    • Oh my goodness, yes! The automat was such an intriguing concept to me. And yes, reading it now I was thinking how quaint it seemed that they went missing and there was just a little notice in the newspaper. I loved The View From Saturday (even though I don’t really remember what it was about) and just recommended it to someone. Hope your new job is going well 🙂

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