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Book Report: The Mysterious Benedict Society

Your Humble Blogger purchased The Mysterious Benedict Society as a Bedtime Book for my Perfect Non-Reader. It had been recommended, and seemed to be right up her alley. And we started it, and it was terrific. Perhaps beyond terrific. I mean, utterly ut; clever and fun and just basically wonderful. For, oh, a hundred and fifty pages or more. Then, not so much.

We went from delighted glee to boredom very quickly. Now, this was presumably exacerbated by the delay involved in a Bedtime Book: you can’t skim any bits that seem unimportant or even bull through a draggy bit in one go and get back to the action. And there was, eventually, an improvement, although the payoff at the end wasn’t, imao, worth getting there. See, here’s the thing: if you get together a team of Secret Agent children, each of whom has remarkable abilities (one has a trick memory and an astonishing store of trivial knowledge and languages as a residue of a quiz show career; one ran away to the circus and has athletic and acrobatic skills along with a gift for thinking physically, if you know what I mean; one has a puzzler’s mind, with lateral thinking and pattern-matching abilities; one is, er, incredibly rude and obstinate), and you get that team together on an island full of baddies, you need to get them using their various skills very quickly indeed. Not after fifty pages of ordinary snooping. Not after a hundred pages. Not after two hundred pages. Not if you want to keep me happy.

Well, and you see, my disappointment (and my Best Reader’s as well) was more than sufficient to rule out purchasing the second book and reading it out loud. On the other hand, we were of course perfectly willing to get the second book from the library for our Perfect Non-Reader (who was not as cranky about the first one as we were) and letting her read it her own dam’ self. Which she did, and loved it, and then my Best Reader, being out of books for a bit, dipped into it, figuring (I suppose) that she could read the good bit at the beginning, and then when it started to drag, back to the library it would go. But to her pleasure and surprise, she finished it without reaching a draggy bit at all. So I’m about four or five chapters into the second one, and so far, so good.

Which goes to show.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,