I don’t even know where to begin with this book. The first I read it was over 20 years ago. I was in the 5th grade and we had to write a book report. I have no idea what led me to this book but something did and I was hooked. I read the book, did my report and loved it some much I suggested it to my teacher as a class read and she readily accepted. For years I have been suggesting this book to people. Some listened and sadly some did not. After getting back into reading myself I thought it was high time that I picked up The Westing Game once again and see if it still had the same spark it had for me when I was a kid. I was nervous to say the least. The last thing you want is for something you loved at one point to be ruined the next time around due to your age. Luckily Ellen Raskin wrote not only an amazing story, but a timeless one as well. I can happily say as much as I loved this book in the 5th grade, I loved it even more in my 30s.
The Westing Game is a straight up mystery. It’s a story about 16 heirs that have been called to the house of millionaire Sam Westing to take part of a game to figure out who would want him dead. They are split up into pairs and are given strange clues, at the reading of his will, that they must decipher and figure out who the culprit is. Each of the 16 people involved has a bit of a back story and connection to the Westing family in one way or another but as Mr. Westing likes to remind them, it is more about what you don’t know then what you do.
I must admit that both times I have read this remarkable book I had no clue what the final result of the mystery would be. I remembered small parts from the first time I read it, but Raskin did such an amazing job of weaving the clues together that I couldn’t put the pieces together even the second time around. She wrote such interestingly intriguing characters that I sometimes found myself more wrapped up in their lives then in the mystery that surrounded them. And by far the most annoying and my absolute favorite character was Turtle. She made the story extra special I think. Surrounded by the biggest group of misfits around, Turtle was able to be herself, the biggest misfit of the misfits. She walked to the beat of her own drum and didn’t care what anyone really thought about her. She was kind of ingenious.
But really, The Westing Game is a fantastical read. Whether you are 12 or 40 you will find yourself wrapped in the Westing mystery trying to figure out exactly who did what to who and why. You’ll read the clues over and over, write things down and become one of the ‘heirs’ yourself! So whether you have read it before a million years ago, or you’re a newbie to the world of Raskin and her game, pick it up! You won’t be disappointed, even the second time around.